Monday, 6 May 2019

Hotel Flamingo by Alex Milway, review by Lynda Waterhouse

This illustrated first chapter book is about a young girl, Anna Dupont, who inherits a dilapidated hotel from her aunt. The Flamingo Hotel is for animals and when Anna arrives it is being run on a shoestring by T. Bear and Lemmy the lemur. Anna is fearless and sets about trying to clean and tidy up the place and return it to its former glory as ‘the sunniest hotel in town.’  The Hotel Flamingo is a place where all kinds of animals are made welcome and treated with respect, cockroaches, warthogs and all!
They recruit some more staff including Sella the giraffe maintenance officer, Hilary Hippo a cleaner with a dust allergy and Madame le Pig, the terrifying but brilliant chef. Everyone must learn to co-operate and work together with good humour to make the hotel into a success. Mrs Fragantri’s flamingo theatrical troupe join for a working holiday. She charmingly articulates one of the themes of the story,
‘‘One thing I’ve always found in this business,’ said Mrs Fragranti, gesturing flamboyantly with a wing, ‘is that you need friends to succeed. Look after your friends, darling, and your friends will look after you.’’
The gentle jeopardy is provided by Ronald Ruffian the owner of the rival Glitz Hotel who tries and fails to belittle Anna as well as get the hotel closed down. There is an undercover visit from a hotel inspector to contend with.
The book is beautifully written with a rich vocabulary and a warm, humorous tone that is a delight for a child to read alone or to have read to them. The pink and grey illustrations by Alex Milway that appear on every page reflect the fun and energy of the text.
If you study the map (I’m a sucker for maps) of Animal Boulevard you can find the exact location of the hotel as well as other delights such as Port Whisker, Tusks Cinema and the rival Glitz Hotel. There are even twenty snails to discover as well as a recipe for lettuce soup.
A delight from start to finish with another book in the series coming soon.
ISBN 978-1-84812-775-3
Published by Piccadilly Press


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