In keeping with this month’s performing arts theme, I though I’d highlight three of my favourite wordless picture books, each of which features a charming little dancer named Flora and her delightful feathered dance partners.
I absolutely adore wordless picture books, which might sound a bit strange coming from a children’s librarian. I probably wouldn’t use wordless picture books at my story times, but I am constantly recommending them to parents, caregivers and school teachers. Wordless picture books are a fantastic teaching resource because they encourage creativity, exploration and individual expression. Children can interpret the illustrations and create their own stories and invent their own dialogues, often with adorable results. Wordless picture books are fantastic for speakers of different languages, and I also use them with my English language learners, from children all the way up to adults. I use them as writing prompts and conversation starters, and love, love, love them!
Did I mention I love wordless picture books?
The first book in Molly Idle’s Flora series is the Caldecott Honour title Flora and the Flamingo.
Flora and her flamingo friend experience the ups and downs of friendship through an interpretive, synchronised swimming routine. It sounds strange, but it works.
The second title in the series, Flora and the Penguin, introduces our heroine to both a new friend and a new creative endeavour – figure skating with a cheeky little penguin!
When Flora and her new friend have a creative disagreement, they must work together to soothe each other’s hurt feelings, and mend their burgeoning friendship.
Finally, our intrepid star encounters two flashy feathered friends and experiences the challenges of balancing multiple best friends in Flora and the Peacock.
While two can be delightful, three can be a bit of a challenge when it comes to friendships, but through a bit of trial and error, Flora and her new friends discover that there really is enough love and friendship between them to go around.
This books are so fantastic not only because of their versatility and sheer beauty, but because Idle really understands the delicacy of childhood emotions and friendships, and portrays them to great effect. Elegant, stunning, fantastical yet still very real, these award-winning pictures should definitely be added to your TBR list.