The Flamingo

From a highly acclaimed illustrator comes a stunning graphic novel filled with adventure and wonder about an imaginative girl and her obsession with flamingos.


A little girl arrives, excited for a beachy vacation with her Lao Lao. The girl and her grandmother search for shells, chase crabs, and play in the sea, but when the girl finds an exquisite flamingo feather in her grandmother’s living room, her vacation turns into something fantastical.

Out September  2022, pub. Random House Studio.


Shelf Awareness, August 3, 2022

The Flamingo

by Guojing (Random House Studio, $18.99 hardcover, 144p., ages 5-8, 9780593127315, September 20, 2022)

Few books deserve the “perfect” designation, but The Flamingo by Guojing arguably earns that appellation. The celebrated author of The Only Child and Stormy presents another remarkable, near-wordless story for young readers that gloriously commemorates bonds between humans and animals, enhanced here with the heartwarming relationship between a child and her grandmother.

Part one opens with “A Trip to Visit Lao Lao All on My Own.” A girl in a red hat, wearing a red backpack and pulling a red suitcase, arrives at the sepia-toned airport and is claimed by her maternal grandmother, also dressed in matching red. At her grandmother’s home (with a red door), the girl is fascinated by a flamingo-shaped mug in which sits a single feather with a reddish tip. In the first of a mere eight panels that contain text, the girl asks, “Can you tell me about the feather?”

Lao Lao’s story turns the pages vivid as she shares a memory of a childhood bike ride with her pup along the beach and finding a lone egg washed up on shore. During granddaughter and Lao Lao’s idyllic visit, in between delicious meals, flying kites, exploring and cuddling, Lao Lao reveals how the egg hatches into a fluffy flamingo friend… who eventually must fly away.

Part two echoes that bittersweet parting–“My Turn to Fly Home”–but not before Lao Lao entrusts the precious feather to her granddaughter’s open hands. Back at home, the girl, who seems alone despite a city filled with people, devises a brilliant, gorgeous, creative way to summon the cherished flamingo and reconnect with her beloved grandmother.

Guojing, who was born in China and lives in Canada, is familiar with the joys of multi-generational homecoming and the challenges of eventual, often necessary, parting. Her touching dedication poignantly encapsulates her own growing up-and-away experience: to her mother “who said I’m her flamingo,” to her son “who arrived when I completed this book” and to her “grandma in heaven, who gave me the happiest childhood.” Guojing exquisitely adapts that cycle of belonging-parting-reuniting by highlighting the bendable but unbreakable attachments between devoted beings, human and not. Exceptionally noteworthy are her characters’ expressions, especially those of delight, discovery and love. Every page of Guojing’s art is a splendid visual feast–including her whimsical insertions of flamingo motifs (even the steamed buns!) throughout–ensuring readers a soaring, spectacular flight of fancy and imagination. –Terry Hong, Smithsonian BookDragon

Shelf Talker: Guojing’s brilliant, near-wordless picture book is a visual feast celebrating family and unlikely friends.

Publishers Weekly, July 15, 2022 – Starred review

The Flamingo

Immaculately drawn and paced, this largely wordless intergenerational portrait tells a double story about sturdy bonds across time and space. Panels in shades of charcoal gray and desaturated red capture the reunion of a young grandchild flying alone to visit their enthusiastically waving Lao Lao, who cues as Chinese. Asked about a pink feather found in a flamingo-shaped cup, Lao Lao spins a tale—told in kaleidoscopic full-color art—about a kid who finds an egg at the beach, takes it home, and finds themself the caretaker of a baby flamingo. Guojing (Stormy) represents the growing flamingo’s changing body with marvelous care, and vibrant sequences in which the bird, the child, and a terrier grow closer provide moments of sheer delight, as in images of the young flamingo sitting stuffed in a pocket and perched on the child’s head. Soon, though, it’s time for both children to say goodbye—to the flamingo and to Lao Lao, too—transitions attended by soaring moments, and followed by a lovely art-centered coda. The parallels between human love and migrating birds are unmistakable in this elegant parable of faithful return. Ages 5–8. (Sept.)




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“Isabel Atherton helped me find the best place for my first picture book – the award winning ‘The Only Child.’ She is not only a experienced and professional book agent, but also a trusted friend, who guides like a friend and shares ideas. The process of book publishing with Isabel was a really sweet and smooth journey for me.”

Guojing, Creative Authors Client.