I know I was charmed by our virtual meeting, by her ensuing Flora titles, and by her latest Flora adventure, a bowlful of fun in a board book, FLORA AND THE CHICKS: A Counting Book.
|Chronicle Books, March, 2017|
In FLORA and the CHICKS, Idle has provided her irresistible character, FLORA, with a challenge of constrained but comical proportions. Always a fan of feathered friends (FLORA AND The FLAMINGO, FLORA AND THE PENGUIN, FLORA AND THE PEACOCKS), Flora arrives at the nest, bowl in hand, to collect eggs. Just then Mama Hen strolls away and the chicks begin breaking out of their shells. With her signature grace and emotive expressions, Flora faces the challenge of corralling freshly-hatching chicks without losing a single one. That is accomplished with significant effort and creativity on Flora's part.
On soft-white backgrounds, Idle generates elaborate subplots on each page-turn, including foldouts. Flora's balletic poses and problem solving analysis combine with comical chicks to allow little minds to fill as fully as their little hands. The tiniest details (a cracking shell, an unexpected worm, a foot-first egg-zit) provide rising action, suspense, and empathetic reactions. I can imagine little fingers pointing out escaping chicks while worry and amusement fill their faces. The gently-bold-blue numerals encourage returns for re-readings, allowing young ones to absorb and learn organically and joyfully.
|Chronicle Books, September 5, 2017|
I'm delighted to learn that Flora's foray into the board book audience will continue in September with the release of FLORA AND THE OSTRICH: An Opposites Book. I hope you are as eager as I am to get your hands on it in the fall.
As a side note, I know just enough about art to know my limits, but I do recognize brilliance and balance of form, figures, color tones, and book design. Idle's books are so rich in design and image that adults will welcome those re-readings rather than eye-rolling on the hundredth repeat.
There's no lack of board books dealing with basic concepts (colors, counting, alphabet, size, etc.). There's also an abundance of popular picture books that have been reworked for the tiniest hands, sometimes simplifying storylines and text but retaining their entertainment value and appeal. So, why fuss about a new line of board books?
Because some board books, very special ones like these, will become the ones that are replaced if damaged, become "MY BOOK" when babes begin using words, and are treasured and passed along to the next generation.
If you know anyone with a toddler or someone expecting a baby, add this to your shopping list and start a little one on a love of books.