The art of storytelling is an ancient and rich one. It aims to entertain its audience, as much as it wants to dwell on the issues that it focuses on. Every story does not need words. Often the illustrations beckon the reader’s eyes and hold their attention. And this is true of Flora and the Peacocks by Molly Idle.
The Dancer Returns
Flora and the Peacocks by Molly Idle is the author and illustrator’s third outing with the little dancer, Flora. While preschoolers and kindergartners are the target audience for the book, it is enjoyed by the young, and the young at heart. Flora and her feathered friends grace the pages of the book as it shares a tale of friendship, and the obstacles it often encounters.
In Flora and the Peacocks, readers are introduced to the little dancer, Flora. She carries a dainty Japanese fan with her as she walks into the first page of the book. Here she meets two beautiful peacocks, one of whom finds her of great interest. This new found interest in the little girl arouses feelings of jealousy in the other peacock. And soon they begin to vie for Flora’s attention.
The peacocks show off their feathers and dance their pretty dance, and tug at her. The trio experience the kind of jealousy and insecurities that often arise in a friendship shared among three friends. While the peacocks tug at Flora and her pretty fan, the fan is torn up. And Flora is upset with her new feathered friends. The peacocks help fix Flora’s fan. Together they create a fan, by combining their feathers and Flora’s fan unlike any the trio has seen before. The climax of the book opens up in the most delightful manner.
A Wordless Story
The beauty of a wordless story lies in its illustrations, and its ability to communicate thoughts and emotions, without saying a word. This is accomplished with flair in the book Flora and the Peacocks by Molly Idle. The pristine white background offers a clean look to the story and does not distract the viewers from the three main characters of the story.
The colors Molly Idle uses in the book are beautiful and complement each other. Flora is dressed in blue garments that are similar to the colors of the Peacocks. Small details such as the pale yellow flowers Flora wears in her hair, and the color and design of the Japanese fan make the illustrations beautiful to look at. The colors and designs are also reflected in the illustration of the peacocks.
Quiet but Powerful Lessons
Each page of the book has movable flaps. Every time a child opens and closes a flap they discover tiny details that add to the story. Movement plays a key role in this book. This includes the movement of turning the flaps, and the pages themselves. With every move, there is something new to find and appreciate.
The narrative, which is visual, is smooth, and the changes that happen in the story are quite apparent. As the story moves along children pay keen attention to the facial and body language of the characters. They learn to understand the emotions the characters experience. And more than often they find that they have also had similar experiences. And it is this fragile bond that they share with the characters that teachers and parents find quite extraordinary.
It is not unusual for children to pick up Flora and the Peacocks by Molly Idle over and again. As they slowly open and close flaps, and turn the pages they are able to understand that friendships require understanding, patience, and kindness. They learn that their emotions and those of others are important and precious. This book works on multiple levels. It enhances visual literacy, encourages creative thinking and helps readers empathize with the struggles that are commonplace in friendships, and in relationships.