Flora and the Peacocks

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Flora and the Peacocks
Molly Idle
Chronicle Books
Flora, so I believe, has already starred in two previous picture books though this is my first encounter with the diminutive dancing delight. Herein she encounters a pair of preening peacocks who proceed to use their gloriously coloured tails in tandem with her fan, mirroring her every move until one, the rather more curious of the pair, crosses the gutter and approaches the girl. Thereafter we have a paired dance on the verso and on the recto, something of a solo drama. Eventually however, we have this …

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After which Flora reaches out (here readers can lift the tails or lower them as the fancy takes them).

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What then follows is a tug of war over her fan,

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orchestrated by readers moving an arched page (we know threesomes can be problematic where friendship is concerned) until the delicate fan becomes two pieces and Flora flounces off-stage in despair

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leaving the birds to work out a solution – which they duly do – with an amazing fold-out finale that more than makes up for the disaster and places a smiling Flora centre stage in a dazzling display of iridescent beauty and bewitchment.
Beautifully choreographed by Molly Idle, this breath-taking, wordless pas de trois is a real virtuoso performance, both on stage and off, that will have readers transfixed and wanting encore after encore. And don’t you just love the way those wispy willow fronds form a kind of proscenium arch for the whole show.

Those who particularly enjoy wordless picture books may also like:

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Dog on a Train
Kate Prendergast
Old Barn Books
This wordless debut picture book begins with a boy dashing downstairs and dropping his hat in his haste to leave the house. His dog spots said hat and chases off down the road after the boy, all the way to the tube station.

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‘Dogs must be carried’ says the sign at the turnstile and as luck would have it, a girl comes along and takes Dog down the escalator onto the platform.

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Dog then boards an underground train, makes the journey, is jostled by crowds, almost loses the hat and finally catches up with the boy and gives him the hat.
Kate Prendergast’s detailed drawings are beautifully executed in soft pencil, with just the red and white stripes of the boy’s hat and red and white details on his trainers standing out, giving a splash of colour on every spread and drawing the eye to the main characters. The pacing of the story is cleverly managed by the use of whole page, double spread, split page and comic strip images.

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A warm story about friendship and determination: wonderful for developing visual literacy.

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