On Flamingos–And Other Book-Lover Obsessions

Posted by Ruth

Besides reading, book-lovers often have obsessions that occupy their time and thoughts. What could be better than to show young readers that you can marry your passion for the printed word with. . .whatever other hobby, idea, person, animal, or indulgence that occupies your interest?

Take Molly, for example. At two and a half years old, she is a dedicated lover of flamingos. Last Thanksgiving, we took her to a friend’s farm and she delighted in the menagerie of animals—and seemed to especially enjoy feeding the goats sprigs of rosemary. But when we asked her what she loved about visiting Melissa’s farm, she answered, “’Mingos!” Yes, we noticed she had really enjoyed the pink plastic flamingos on Melissa’s lawn, but was that really the most exciting aspect of our time at the farm? Apparently so! Molly was a flamingo for Halloween, has flamigo pj’s, and recently picked out a flamingo cookie cutter. . .What could be better than a beginning list of flamingo books to inform her about this beloved animal—and satisfy her interest in books at the same time?

I’ve listed four good books for toddlers and pre-schoolers –and older readers who share Molly’s flamingo obsession will enjoy them, too. If your child has an over-whelming interest, contact us and we’ll create a booklist dedicated to that passion!

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For-Pete's-SakeFor Pete’s Sake by Ellen Stoll Walsh

Pete the alligator is the unlikely hero of this flamingo-themed book. The only alligator living with 3 flamingos, poor Pete wants to fit in. He would prefer to be pink, rather than green; he wishes he had feathers instead of scales; and he has two extra feet! The text includes clever dialogue, when Pete’s flamingo friends try to encourage him; for example, “The best feathers take the longest to grow,” they insist. When he meets three “flamingos who look just like him,”(alligators!), he is able to accept that he is “different, yet the same” as his friends. A simple, gentle tale enhanced by paper-cut collage illustrations.

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FizzaFizza, the Flamingo by Marilyn Sheffield

Set in the Middle East, this flamingo story tells the adventures of young Fizza, a city-born flamingo who gets tired of all the noise and bustle and flies to the desert for some peace and quiet. Along the way, she meets new friends and has to adjust to a very different environment. The watercolor illustrations are a treat—very much in the Impressionist tradition. Children will enjoy the unfamiliar setting and sounds of the names from a different part of the world.

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Mud-CityMud City: A Flamingo Story by Brenda Guiberson

Children interested in particular animals often appreciate a non-fiction text with rich illustrations that provides more information. This book documents the life cycle of a flamingo, following one bird over several years. Readers get to see the differences in a flamingo chick’s life as it changes its diet, plumage, and explores different habitats. The watercolor illustrations are stunning as art, and informative in portraying fascinating details.

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A-Flamngo-ChickA Flamingo Chick Grows Up by Joan Hewett, photographs by Richard Hewett

The power of this simple book is in the photographs, which clearly depict Puck, a Caribbean flamingo who grows up on a nature preserve in Florida. While the text is a bit stilted, kids appreciate seeing the wonderful photographs of a real flamingo being lovingly tended by both his parents as he grows up.

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