Flamingo fabulousness is plentiful in this delightful read that celebrates friendship and the importance of being who you are.
I love the Armadillo and Hare books that tell the stories of two companions and their friends. The books have all of the warmth and charm of the Frog and Toad adventures by Arnold Lobel. Two friends spending time together, enjoying their days and learning valuable and meaningful lessons about life.
Although they are not at all alike and have very little in common, Armadillo and Hare are the best of friends. Armadillo enjoys sitting around in his chair, wearing his dressing gown inside out and eating cheese and tomato jam sandwiches. Hare is full of energy, plays the tuba, enjoys working out and always looks rather dapper.
When someone new arrives in the forest, she causes quite the stir. The most beautiful music alerts Armadillo and Hare to the new arrival and the duo, along with the other inhabitants of the Big Forest, are keen to find out exactly who is making the noise. What they discover is the most fabulously flamboyant of flamingos! Perched in a bath tub on the bank of the lake, the strange sight raises more questions than it does provide answers. Where did the flamingo come from? What’s with all the singing? And why is she in a bath tub?
Written as nine short stories, Armadillo, Hare and their friends - a bicycle-riding wombat, a jaguar, a stick insect that is very hard to spot, a giraffe, an elephant, a bear (of the polar variety), a lobster and a tortoise - get the answers to many of their questions as they get to know their new arrival. The stories are light-hearted and funny and Jeremy Strong presents characters that are very likeable and relatable. Dig a bit deeper and readers will find messages and lessons on friendship, kindness, being true to yourself, health and well-being, accepting others and not judging on appearance. Armadillo and Hare certainly give readers a lot to think about.
This is an ideal early chapter book and a great read for those children who are moving on to longer length books. Each chapter is a short story about a specific event and there is something to learn from each tale. The text is nicely spaced out so as not to overwhelm young readers and Rebecca Bagley’s delightful illustrations, that are frequently dotted throughout the book, are a great accompaniment to the text and perfectly capture the different personalities of Armadillo, Hare and all of their friends.
A perfectly pitched read and I can see this book being enjoyed time and time again, much like I did with my Frog and Toad books when I was a child.
Recommended for 6+.
With thanks to David Fickling Books and Jeremy Strong for the advanced reader copy that was received through NetGalley.