To Be or Knot To Be


Children - Picture Book
34 Pages
Reviewed on 09/23/2020
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite

To Be or Knot To Be is a children’s educational animal picture book written and illustrated by Melanie Burgess. The Florida Everglades are home to colonies of flamingos. Two flamingos from one of those colonies loved to dance and swirl about each other on the mudflats. Suddenly, as they spun, they fell in a tangled mass of flamingo necks, bodies, and long legs. When they got up, they realized their necks had gotten knotted together. No matter what they did, they just couldn’t untangle themselves. The panicky flamingos shouted out for help, but the other flamingos in the colony only laughed at the ridiculous predicament the two had gotten themselves into. Since the colony was no help, the knotted flamingos decided to find someone else to help them. No one seemed to have the answers that the tired and knotted-up flamingos needed, but still, they persevered in their hunt for assistance.

Melanie Burgess’ To Be or Knot To Be is an extraordinary selection for young readers that takes them into the heart of the Florida Everglades and introduces them to the native flora and fauna. Burgess' illustrations are masterful and make this virtual visit to the Everglades an unforgettable one. Each panel reveals aspects of the Everglades and its inhabitants in full detail and accuracy. I found myself delightedly lingering as I turned each page -- so much to look at! Would the two flamingos ever discover the key to unknotting their necks? While the answer proved so elusive throughout the story, the visit to the Everglades and its different habitats made the search a sheer pleasure. Burgess includes in her appendix an informative page entitled Knowledge Nibblers that further educates young readers about the Everglades environments. A section called Habitat Hunt calls upon readers to match plants and animals to the correct Everglades habitat. To Be or Knot To Be will, no doubt, excite imaginations and even inspire some young readers to become ecologists or environmentalists. It’s most highly recommended.

Deborah Lloyd

Two pretty pink flamingos from the same colony loved to play and dance together in the Florida Everglades. One day during their dancing and spinning, their necks got tangled into a big knot. Together, they learned how to stand, walk, and fly, as they embarked on a journey to find someone who could help them become untangled. They encountered a raccoon, a turtle, a panther, and other animals. The Great Horned Owl, however, imparted wisdom about the benefits of being tied together. In the children’s book, To Be or Knot To Be, written by Melanie Burgess, an inspirational and educational tale is imparted.

The illustrations in this book are simply delightful, revealing the personalities of each animal. Likewise, the scenery of the mangrove swamps, sawgrass marshes, and a tropical forest are brought to life. The tale teaches an important life lesson – that working together is the best way to live. The rhyming verses are fun to read and full of Everglades’ facts. Additionally, there are two sections at the end of the book that are educational. The first is “Knowledge Nibblers,” which are definitions of terms used in the story. The second is “Habitat Hunt,” an exercise for children to find in which habitat a specific animal lives. Also noteworthy is that this book is based on Christian beliefs, including a Bible verse within the story. Author Melanie Burgess has crafted an enchanting children’s book in To Be or Knot To Be. The imaginations of children (and parents) will be engaged for many hours with this captivating story!

Erin Nicole Cochran

To Be or Knot To Be by Melanie Burgess is a children’s picture book about two flamingos who end up with their long necks tangled into a knot. The pair search throughout the Florida landscape for help from a myriad of native creatures. Although the narrative is in a rhyming scheme perfect for children of all ages to read along to, it still has a very intellectual bent that will keep the interest of adults who may be reading along as well.

Melanie Burgess’ To Be or Knot To Be displays her beautiful colorful renderings of landscapes, wildlife, and everything that’s in between, so real they nearly pop out of the page and onto your lap. Outside of the flamingos, the little critter that charmed me the most was the raccoon who was endearing, if not all that helpful. Another aspect that drew me to Melanie Burgess’ To Be or Knot To Be was the habitat hunt at the end of the book. Books that add an extra helping of education for children about the world around them are vital. I was taught very little about the world as a child when I was in school, and knowing the world around us is important. As I was reading along with this book, I was also Googling images of the creatures mentioned, specifically the samurai-faced stink bug. Google that little guy, and you will not be disappointed. Melanie Burgess’ To Be or Knot To Be is a book that will delight and engage all ages for years to come.

Carolyn Paxton

The best message that I received from this book is that we are better together. These two flamingos got entwined. They found out that they could get along together. This is an important message today.
Two hearts, two partners, marriage ... requires that two people live as one.
Get this book for your children. It often takes two to make a life!
She puts forth a VERY IMPORTANT MESSAGE in today’s world!
Nicely written and the artwork is spectacular.