Reviews /

Bibi: A flamingo’s tale

Authored by Jo Weaver
Illustrated by Jo Weaver
Published by Hachette Children's Group

Jo Weaver’s heart-warming picture book, Bibi: A flamingo’s tale, tells a tale of community and collaboration. It follows the oldest and wisest flamingo on the lake, Bibi, as she navigates a changing world. As wise as she is old, the other flamingos always turn to Bibi in times of uncertainty. One day, as she is caring for the new flock of flamingos, Bibi realises that the lake is drying up. Taking full responsibility for the new chicks, she tells their parents to fly on ahead and she will walk across the scorching ground with the chicks as they have yet to learn to fly.

As they walk, Bibi realises a little chick (Toto) is suffering at the back. Toto is too hot and in need of water. Bibi teaches all of the other chicks that they do not move on without one of the flock – they are a community. When he is strong enough to continue, they do… as a group.

Although successfully reunited with their parents, the tale is later turned on its head as Bibi begins to suffer. She is old by now; the chicks have grown up and developed not only their ability to fly, but also their pink feathers. However, they have not forgotten the lesson Bibi taught them: the group is only as strong as its weakest members. Not one flamingo leaves her until Bibi is strong enough to fly again.

This gentle picture book teaches young readers messages of teamwork, the importance of family and how animals are adapting to our changing world. However, it never feels like it is preaching – these messages do not take away from the core story of Bibi and her wisdom.
The monochrome, pencil-like illustrations are only punctuated by the pink hues of the flamingos and this makes them catch your eye on each page. I have noticed that many picture books for younger children veer towards cartoon-like depictions of animals and birds. Jo Weaver’s words and illustrations do not do this and I find this highly refreshing. Certainly, a book which could be read across the primary age phase and with powerful messages of community, add this to your assembly list!