cover image The Flamingo

The Flamingo

Guojing. Random House Studio, $18.99 (144p) ISBN 978-0-593-12731-5

Immaculately drawn and paced, this largely wordless intergenerational portrait tells a double story about sturdy bonds across time and space. Panels in shades of charcoal gray and desaturated red capture the reunion of a young grandchild flying alone to visit their enthusiastically waving Lao Lao, who cues as Chinese. Asked about a pink feather found in a flamingo-shaped cup, Lao Lao spins a tale—told in kaleidoscopic full-color art—about a kid who finds an egg at the beach, takes it home, and finds themself the caretaker of a baby flamingo. Guojing (Stormy) represents the growing flamingo’s changing body with marvelous care, and vibrant sequences in which the bird, the child, and a terrier grow closer provide moments of sheer delight, as in images of the young flamingo sitting stuffed in a pocket and perched on the child’s head. Soon, though, it’s time for both children to say goodbye—to the flamingo and to Lao Lao, too—transitions attended by soaring moments, and followed by a lovely art-centered coda. The parallels between human love and migrating birds are unmistakable in this elegant parable of faithful return. Ages 5–8. (Sept.)