Here is a fantastically imaginative new addition to the growing bank of illustrated chapter books available to newly independent readers, perfect for fans of Alex T Smith’s Claude books and Harriet Muncaster’s Isadora Moon series.
Anna Dupont arrives at the dilapidated Hotel Flamingo after inheriting it from her Great Aunt Mathilda, who left it to her in her will. Shocked at the state of the “sunniest hotel in town”, Anna is disappointed to see a deserted building with dirty floors, cracked windows, broken doors and layers of old cobwebs.
A determined and optimistic protagonist, Anna decides to restore the hotel to its former glory and sets about the enormous task of cleaning, fixing, planning and hiring. As she pools her resources and brings together a team of animal staff, Anna begins to knock the hotel into shape. Her new staff members include a handy-giraffe for maintenance jobs, a highly opinionated porcine chef called Madame Le Pig and the cleaner Hilary Hippo, who just happens to be allergic to dust.
Restoring the reputation of an old hotel is no easy challenge, but at every step, Anna keeps her focus on teamwork, inclusion and good old hard work and soon the hotel is celebrating the kind of success it deserves.
I enjoyed the delightful cast of characters, the positive values promoted by hotel owner Anna and Alex Milway’s appealing illustrations set in pinks and greys. I particularly loved the way that the hotel was ready to welcome creatures, like cockroaches, that other hotels in the area were unwilling to accept and there was a clear message that the hotel was a better place because of its warmth and diversity.
Imaginative, accessible and little bit wild, Hotel Flamingo is a fabulous early chapter book that will appeal to readers aged 5-8. I look forward to reading more of Anna’s adventures in the rest of the series.
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