book review

How Do You Resolve Conflict with a Penguin? Flora Knows How

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I just have to say that I absolutely adore Molly Idle, her art, and her lovely little girl Flora. I can not seem to get enough of Flora and now there is a new Flora book! Flora and the Penguin does not disappoint.

Flora The Penguin

The pragmatic mom herself and I were discussing who we think is up for the Caldecott and who is going to win. Flora and the Penguin is a book that would make my entire year if it won the Caldecott. This book is perfect for ages 3 to 5 but I  have to confess this grown woman adores it too.

Molly Idle has a way of telling a story that keeps her readers engaged. Did I mention she does this all with innovative illustrations ? There isn’t a word in the book.

This wordless wonder is innovative and brilliantly creative as it uses clever flaps that reveal Flora and her penguin friend becoming acquaintances, drifting apart and then coming back together as only friends can do.

In her last book Flora mastered the art of ballet. In Flora and the Penguin, we find her on ice skates, twirling, leaping, and gliding and her penguin friend is up to usual penguin antics by gliding on his flippers.

The ever perfect ice-skating duo mirror each other in an exuberant ice dance.

flora-penguin dance

The penguin delighted with his new skating partner, dives into under the ice to give her the gift of a small fish. Ever disgusted at the idea of a fish, Flora throws it back into the water and gives her new friend the cold shoulder.

flora flaps

Realizing she has offended her friend she takes off her skate to use as a fishing rod, to try and capture the fish back. This in itself leads to a new adventure and back to a very funny ice dance. All’s well that ends well.

Molly Idle has a great gift of story telling. The use of flaps I think is just brilliant and engages the child as well as the adult on many levels. Flora is still one of my favorites. I can’t wait to see what happens at Caldecott time and I really can’t wait until the next Flora book.

Molly Idle began her career as an artist working for DreamWorks Feature Animation, contributing to movies including The Prince of Egypt and El Dorado. From there she leapt into the world of children’s books. She lives in Tempe, Arizona. Grab your copy of Flora HERE.

Something To Do

Though snow and ice and such are winter themes, the truth of the matter is thanks to ice skating rinks, we can go ice skating anytime we want to. To celebrate Flora and the Penguin why not head out to your local ice skating rink for an afternoon of frivolous Flora fun !!!

Once you get your balance and can stand up on ice skates, here are some really fun games for you , your family and friends to play,….oh on the ice of course.

Ice Skating Games

ice skating games

Freeze skate

This game is played similar to the classic party game of freeze dance. Instead of dancing, however, kids will skate along to the music in whatever manner they wish, perhaps while performing some of their favorite skating moves. When the music stops, all skaters must freeze in place. The last player to freeze is out. Play continues until all but one player have been called out. The last player left on the ice is the winner.

Skate Chain

Have kids line up with their hands on each other’s waists, like when forming a conga line. Play some music and have the kids wind around the rink while linked together in the chain. Gradually increase the speed of the music and challenge the chain to speed up as the music does. Any kids who let go or break the chain are out of the game. Play continues until only two players are left. They are the winners.

Gliders

Have two kids stand behind the same starting line. On the start signal, these skaters may take three skating strides and then glide over the ice until they stop. The one who glides the farthest wins while the other player is out. Keep competing like this in pairs of two until everyone has had a turn. All of the winners will then compete against each other to see who can glide the farthest to win the game. To make it more challenging, you could also have the second round of skaters compete with one-foot-glides.

Ice Potato

This game is modeled after the traditional party activity of hot potato, but has been modified to play on the ice. Have your players skate freestyle around the rink. As they are skating, toss a foam ball to a random skater. That player must pass the ball off to the first player to cross his path. Kids will keep passing the ball from skater to skater until the music stops. Whoever is holding the ball when the music stops is out. Play continues in this manner until only one player is left. That skater is the winner.

Follow the Leader

This game is played very much like the well-known schoolyard game of Follow the Leader, except that it is played on the ice. To play, have skaters line up on the ice. Choose one to be the leader. That player will skate for a few feet, performing her best figure skating techniques as she does. All of the other players must follow her lead by repeating the same moves as they skate the same distance. Any player who fails to mimic the leader is out of the game. If all of the players are able to correctly follow the leader, then the leader is out and a new leader is chosen. Play continues until one player remains. That skater is the winner.

Ice Words

Write several words that have to do with ice, and ice-skating on small pieces of paper. Fold them and place them inside of an ice skate. All of the players gather on the sidelines. One player will choose a paper from the skate, look at the word (without saying it aloud) and then “spell it out” by skating. The other players must watch the motion of the skater’s feet to try and guess the word she is writing in the ice. The first player to guess correctly takes the next turn at writing a word with skates. A few suggestions for words to use include ice, skates, figure 8, rink, blade,, and a variety of common figure skating terms.

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A year in the secret garden

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