Fly’Mingoo: The Adventures of Franklin the Flamingo, by Franklin E. Renwick Jr.
My review: ★★★★
Joey loves skateboarding, but not wearing safety equipment. He disregards his mom’s warning and goes skateboarding without his helmet – quickly crashing into a flamingo and hurting it. He takes it to the doctor, then nurses it back to health. Once the flamingo has recovered, he decides to dress it up in human-clothes, and suddenly it transforms into Franklin the Flamingo, who teaches Joey a lesson about safety equipment. The two then set up a tent at the beach sharing the lessons with other children.
I’m a bit conflicted about this book. Reading it as an adult – it’s not a great story. It comes across in two disjoint parts: before-transformation and after-transformation. The transformation itself is a contrived plot twist. However, I read this with my 5-year-old, and he loved it. He loved the “Fly’mingoo!” exclamations, he loved Franklin post-transformation, he agreed that Franklin had a good message about safety equipment (though in truth, my 5-year-old has never rebelled against helmets etc. as he sees his big sisters using them). So I’ve decided to award 4 stars because the way kids feel about the story is more important than the way adults feel about it.
This isn’t a great book for the purpose of learning to read. It has large words, and it’s good for young kids to hear them and learn them, it’s just a better book for reading to kids than for kids learning to read.
Best for kids ages 3-6, especially for those who rebel against helmets or other safety equipment.