Hotel Flamingo: Fabulous Feast

Hotel Flamingo: Fabulous Feast
Alex Milway
Piccadilly Press

It’s always a huge treat to pay a visit to Animal Boulevard’s  Flamingo Hotel where now as winter recedes Anna and T. Bear are outside enjoying themselves while hoping that business will pick up after a slack period.

Suddenly into their midst from high above crashes their first new season guest in the form of a stunt pigeon named Alfonso Fastbeak.

Over a warming cocoa in the lobby Alfonso explains that he was working on his routine for a forthcoming record-breaking attempt when things went a little awry. Hence his unexpected mode of arrival.

Mightily impressed by the hotel, Alfonso decides to book a room for the duration of his recuperation and this prompts Anna to realise something needs to be done to improve business – something like a ‘Battle of the Chefs’ competition. Their very own chef Madame Le Pig is the greatest chef in town; they just need to prove her superiority over the chefs of rival establishments.

Ever the grumpy one, Madame Le Pig needs a bit of persuasion but having won her round, Anna and T.Bear set about the task of getting Peston Crumbletart and Laurence Toot-Toot on board too.

Meanwhile Ms Frangipani is enlisted to facilitate the recovery of Alfonso

and T. Bear finds a judge for the cooking competition.

As news of the event with its promised accompanying feast spreads, room bookings rise rapidly and pretty soon guests start showing up.

A pretty demanding lot they prove to be too. There’s Norman and Petal Horntop intent on sampling all the regional grasses, not to mention octopus Simon Suckerlot who insists on having a constant supply of brine. But even the most exacting guests must have their needs attended to, even if that means getting rid of any cowpats that appear on the carpets at the most inopportune moments

and procuring large amounts of precious sea salt from the kitchen.

When the competition eventually gets underway, things get pretty tense especially when Madame Le Pig gets an attack of stage-fright.

But who will be declared the final winner? And what of guest Alfonso: he too needs to summon up all his confidence for his big day.

Camaraderie, determination and self-belief are key in this deliciously offbeat drama. Add to the mix a generous garnishing of Alex’s brilliantly expressive two colour illustrations (20 with bees hiding in plain sight to find) and the result is a mouth-watering read that’s sure to satisfy young readers.

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