Selected Reviews for Flare

School Library Journal

K-Gr 2–In the second title in this early reader series, readers meet a newly reborn phoenix who believes that he is too tough to cry. Flare’s guardians, Cloud, Wind, and Sun, believe that the phoenix needs to “know about crying” and take turns showing him what it looks and sounds like. Cloud rains tears, and Wind wails, but Flare does not like being wet, hides from the sound, and insists that he will never cry. Finally, Sun leads him to a baby bird who is injured in a fall from its nest. Flare is so saddened by his inability to help the little creature that, in spite of himself, he begins to weep. When his magical tears fall on the bird’s broken wing and Flare witnesses their healing powers, he learns that sometimes crying is a good thing, especially for a phoenix. Côté’s illustrations, done in watercolor with digital accents, mirror the playful innocence of this tale. The message in George’s tender story will resonate with young readers, who will likely ask for others in the series. This title will fit right into any early reader collection and may even spark curiosity in these mythical birds.

- Lynn Van Auken, Oak Bluffs School, Oak Bluffs, MA

* * *

Kirkus Reviews
A little phoenix gets in touch with his feelings.

When Flare is born in a burst of flame, he, like all phoenixes, doesn’t have parents. But Cloud, Wind and Sun watch over him, and he’s a scrappy fellow who teaches himself how to fish and fly. When things go wrong, he sings a little song: “I am tough. / I am strong. / I do not cry.” Sun, Wind and Cloud worry that Flare is perhaps a bit too tough for his own good and decide to coax him toward greater sensitivity. First Cloud models crying by raining, and then Wind wails and howls. Instead of being inspired to soften up a bit and shed some tears of his own, Flare is repelled. Then Sun shines a path through the forest, leading Flare to a baby bird that has fallen from its nest and hurt its wing. The little bird cries in pain, and empathy finally moves Flare to tears as well. In a happy twist, the little phoenix’s tears magically heal the baby bird. While perhaps a bit heavy-handed (must Flare cry if he’s really doing OK?), the text is accessible. Throughout, Côté’s lively illustrations reinforce meaning from one brief chapter to the next, loose lines and broad swathes of color communicating energy and fun.

A sweetly fantastic addition to the early-reader shelf.

* * *

Ivy's Vine Blogspot
This is a seriously cute book, and not just because I was a Classics major. Kallie George has written a lovely book called Flare about a baby Phoenix. He rises out of the ashes singing, "I am tough. I am strong. My name is Flare." Flare is an orphan, but he is lovingly raised by a cloud, the sun, and the wind. Each of these three tries to teach Phoenix it is o.k. to cry. Their attempts fail until the sun shines on an injured and sad baby bird. It is through this experience that the Phoenix is truly able to understand the power and magic of his tears. Ivy was just fascinated by this book. It appears to be a series - I will be ordering the rest today! It is also simple to read for a beginning reader.

* * *

Feed a Reader Blogspot
I blogged before on another Tiny Tails story called Spark about a dragon so I was super excited to see this new book come out about Flare the phoenix! Flare is a phoenix who is strong and tough and who does not cry. He is very proud of the fact he does not cry. The sun, wind and cloud try to tell Flare that crying is ok and can make you feel better but Flare is convinced that he will never cry. In the end it isn't feeling what tears are or hearing what crying sounds like but the empathy he feels for another that leads him to finally cry.

* * *

Jean Little Library Blogspot
I was in a busy hurry when I read the first book in the Tiny Tails series, Spark, so I only had time to write a brief "this is adorable" note. Now I have more time, the next book in the series, and all the words in the world, so settle in and enjoy.

Flare is a magical bird, a phoenix. Wind, Sun, and Cloud watch over him. But Flare has a problem - he is strong and tough, but he does not cry. Wind and Cloud both try to show him that it's important to cry sometimes, but it's not until Sun shows him something very sad that Flare cries - and discovers his tears are magic.

One of the things I love about this new series, Tiny Tails, is that you think the author is going for an "issue" — everyone has to cry, it's ok to be sad, etc. and then she flips it around and AH HA his tears are magic! He has to cry to fix the baby bird! So, it incorporates a gentle lesson, that it's ok to cry, without being didactic and still having a fun story that doesn't need the lesson to work on its own.

The font isn't extremely large, but it's still bold enough to be very readable. The text is about midway for an easy reader; more than a beginning reader can handle, but just right for kids who aren't ready for paragraphs and chapters yet. The text has the simple repetition and short sentences of an easy reader without being bland or boring.

Genevieve Cote's illustrations complete the delightful books. They're brilliantly colored, but still adorable, cute, and other small and cuddly words. Bright swirls of color are outlined with bold charcoal lines and light, sketched in outlines. When Flare listens to the wind, the sky is full of blue swirls, a ladybug flies by upside-down, and he's just a bundle of feathers crouched in the grass. When Flare finally cries, his blazing color and flaming tears pop right off the page.

Verdict: If, like me, you're ready for something new in easy readers, these are a perfect choice. Accessible text and lovely illustrations will make these a favorite with both parents and children. Highly recommended.

* * *

National Reading Campaign
Flare is the second book in Kallie George’s Tiny Tails series about magical baby animals. Building on her success with Spark—a story about a baby dragon who must learn to control his fiery breath—George presents the main character with a simple problem. The issue is seen from two points of view: that of the baby who must learn the lesson, and that of the guardian who must teach the lesson. Only when Flare succeeds does he find the magic that lives within him.

Aimed at beginning readers, the language is simple and repetitive. The book is divided into short chapters, organizing the story into manageable chunks that will build reading confidence. Côté’s swirling watercolours, crayon outlines, and cheerful characterizations create a light and casual feel.

Most notable, however, is the story’s structure. It follows the pattern of the traditional fairy tale, complete with a mythological creature, benevolent helpers, and an obstacle that requires multiple attempts to overcome. The result is a story that resonates with familiarity, reads well aloud, and ultimately satisfies.