Engaging wordplay makes a serious point about inclusion.
THEY’RE SO FLAMBOYANT
Feathered friends are flustered when flamingos move into the neighborhood.
Flamboyance describes a group of flamingos, just like a waddle of penguins or a brood of chickens. But these flamingos aren’t just flamboyantly bright pink—they also wear tiaras and feather boas, and one sports a rainbow mohawk. The longtime residents are all atwitter, often alliteratively. A “gaggle of geese gathered to gab. ‘Flamingos! Really? In our backyard?’ ” Every bird family seems to have an opinion, and it’s a negative one. A squadron of pelicans creates a daytime neighborhood watch. Nightingales take the late shift. Finally, all the birds flock together to march on the flamingos’ new home. Luckily, when the flamingos open their door, wrens chime, “Stay calm,” and the wisdom of owls has brought “a heaping plate of algae for the new neighbors.” The flamingos then reveal a surprise—a “welcome to our home” party—with all their new neighbors invited. For all the colorful illustrations, fun collective nouns (a list is in the backmatter), and clever wordplay and alliteration, this book has a serious message about “inclusion, exclusion, and the stereotypes, fears, and assumptions that can lead to discrimination,” as the author’s note explains. Dialogue in the concluding scene is unsubtle (“Differences don’t have to be scary”; “What were we getting so worked up about?”), but this story is a welcome springboard for age-appropriate discussions of assumptions, stereotypes, and inclusion.
When a “flamboyance” of flamingos moves into a neighborhood full of other types of birds, feathers get ruffled.
Bright pink colors and long legs—how dare those flamingos!
Will the brooding birds realize their mistake and restore peace and harmony to the community?
This is absolutely a picture book I wish had been read to me when I was a little kid! And, it’s a homophobia smackdown, because the negativity of so many birds is completely turned around by the flamboyant flamingos just being their wonderful selves.
The story is awesome, the illustrations cartoony and so kid-friendly, and while the bird group names are really cool, the real heart of the book is how it can open up a conversation with kids about how we treat those who seem different on the outside from ourselves… There’s a well-done author’s note at the back, that includes this:
Conversation with children about the assumptions and stereotypes that can lead to excluding behavior are vitally important if we are to live in a world that is more inclusive, fair, and welcoming.
“They’re So Flamboyant” is a great place to start those conversations. And it’s SO proud and the illustrations are so clearly filled with Queer Joy and Rainbow Pride Flags and little in-jokes for adult readers (like how the flamingos renovate their new home to get rid of all the closets!)
I loved this book! As the back cover shouts, “Pretty, Pink, Proud!”