Flora returns for an encore performance, but this time her partner is a penguin. As Flora straps on her skates you know you are in for something special. Pinks have been traded in for frosty blues, but still retain their delicate touch. Softly curving lines delight the senses with their graceful flow and feel for the "dance". This time the flaps have the distinct purpose of suggesting the speed of skating which includes both the swift changes in place, and the way in which figure skating techniques seamlessly transition from one to the next. Further instilling this sense of movement are the fish mimicking the pair just below the surface. Their presence becomes a part of this wordless story when the penguin, who originally accepted Flora's invitation, abandons her to go fishing. When they separate, both are relegated to their own flap or page. Only after reconciling are they reunited for the grade final. In the case of the Flamingo, the story was about making friends, however with the penguin it is about making up with friends. Both facial features and body language play a huge role in delivering the story and mood. Emotions range from pure delight to being miffed, with some light humour sprinkled throughout. Idle's previous book Flora and the Flamingo had the most brilliant use of flaps ever, and yet this one one-ups it. The combination of this, a heartwarming story, and the graceful illustrations which actually capture the essence of skating, makes Flora and the Penguin another strong contender for Best Picture Book of the Year.
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