cover image Flamboyan


Arnold Adoff. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt P, $14.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-15-228404-6

Flamboyan was born with hair the color of the flame-red blossoms of the Flamboyan tree. As she grows up, the tree is her special place to sit gazing at the sky and dreaming of being as free as the birds above. Flamboyan tends the animals in her yard and helps her mother sell their oranges and candies. She participates in the busy life around her; still, a part of her longs to fly away. One lazy afternoon, her dream comes true and she rises above her tree to join the many birds in mid-air. They fly and dive over Flamboyan's favorite people and places; then she gently lands back under her dear tree. Adoff has created a magical story of a girl's yearning to be outside her own life. He vividly describes the colorful Caribbean island and the lively spirit of Flamboyan. The text, although at times a bit long-winded, has a nice rhythm to it, its punctuation provided by small red marks. Barbour's pictures, with strong colors and primitive designs, bring to mind the vibrant paintings of Henri Matisse. Her color choices do not always agree with the written word, but the general effect is dazzling; this story will appeal to all who long to go beyond the ordinary. Ages 5-8. (September)