Book Review and Interview with Harry the Peacock
Robin Newman, Author
Chris Ewald, Illustrator
Sky Pony Press, Fiction, Sep. 4, 2018
Suitable for Ages: 4-8
Themes: Peacocks, Behavior, Humor, Friendship, Teamwork
Every day, Phil, Jim, and Harry are fed sunflower seeds by the staff who care for them at The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. But one day, they decide they’re sick of seeds. They make a break for the New York City streets in search of pizza or Chinese takeout. But everywhere they go, they’re told “No peacocks!”
So, they try to get an ooey, gooey, delicious meal closer to home. But how are they going to sneak into The Cathedral School’s dining hall and get their wings on the school’s world-famous mac ’n cheese? A little plotting, some stolen disguises, and help from the students, and the mission is a go!
Will the peacocks get their mac ’n cheese? Or will their cover be blown, forcing them to fly the coop? This fictional feathered tale was inspired by the real-life beloved celebrity birds living on the Cathedral grounds.
Why I like this book:
Three conniving peacocks with character and so much more. Robin Newman once again entertains readers with her masterful puns — this time bird puns — which will elicit some joyful giggles from children and encourage them to find more puns. The text is funny and the vocabulary rich.
Readers will cheer for these three proud and cocky friends as they plot to steal some of the school’s mac ‘n cheese. Phil, Jim and Harry are quirky, mischievous, and even devious in their pursuit of the cafeteria’s famous specialty. It is a perfect read-aloud at home or in the classroom!
Chris Ewald’s colorful and lively illustrations contribute to the fun-loving antics, hilarity and silliness of this dynamic threesome – Jim Phil and Harry.
I’ve got the inside scoop from none other than, Harry, one of the three resident peacocks.
The Scoop from the Coop: Bird Talk with Harry, the Peacock
This is the real Harry! Photo courtesy of Robin Newman.
PT: It’s a pleasure to have Harry, the peacock, visiting the blog today. Harry is one of three resident peacocks living on the grounds of The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Harry, thanks for stopping by the blog. First, I have to tell you I’m a HUGE fan of peacocks.
Harry: Thank you! That’s very nice to hear. Peacocks have received a lot of bad press lately.
PT: Did you hear about the woman who was barred from bringing her emotional support peacock on an airplane?
Harry: Oh yes! Poor Dexter! Terrible! I bet if the woman had tried to bring her dog or cat on the plane instead of Dexter, it would have been a very different story. The P.C.L.U., Peacock Civil Liberties Union, has filed a suit against the airline. Phil, Jim, and I have also written letters to our peacock representatives in Washington, D.C.
PT: I have to say, when I think of city “pets,” I normally don’t think of peacocks. Is it rare to have peacocks as pets in Manhattan?
Harry: I’ve never met any other peacocks on the Upper West Side. So, I guess the answer to your question is yes.
PT: Do you get along with the neighborhood dogs?
Harry: That’s a “No” with a capital N! Dogs are the worst! They’re constantly chasing after us. I heard from the hawks, Norman and Madeleine, that a peacock who had lived at The Cathedral before Phil, Jim, and I arrived got into a terrible disagreement with a dog and sadly, it did not end well for the peacock.
PT: I’m so sorry to hear that. Now, the three of you are very much New York celebrities. You’ve been written up in a number of publications, including The New York Times, NY Daily News, Newsday, and Time Out NY. Is it hard being in the limelight all of the time?
Harry: Not at all. The tourists are wonderfully friendly (unlike the dogs) and they’ll often drop snacks on the ground.
PT: Everyone is raving about your new book, No Peacocks! by Robin Newman and illustrated by Chris Ewald. Can you tell me a little bit about it?
Harry: Phil, Jim, and I love to eat! Peacocks are omnivores by nature and will eat just about anything. The book is about our quest to get our wings on The Cathedral School’s famous mac ‘n cheese. The book is about friendship, teamwork, and for fun, has a mild sprinkling of fowl behavior.
PT: I have to tell you that when I took my five-year old daughter to Disney World, she had a blast dancing with a white peacock.
Harry: Peacocks do like to shake their tail feathers on the dance floor, especially Phil.
PT: Thanks for taking the time to talk to me, Harry. It’s rare that I get to interview such a New York City celebrity. No Peacocks! is available in bookstores EVERYWHERE. You can also catch Robin Newman at The Warwick Children’s Book Festival on Saturday, October 6th, from 11 am – 4 pm. Her books will also be available at the Metro NY SCBWI table at the Brooklyn Book Festival for children’s day on Saturday, September 15th, 10 am – 4 pm.
No Peacocks! flew onto bookshelves September 4th. Give No Peacocks! a little book love by sharing it on Facebook and Twitter. It will help Robin Newman spread the word.
Book Giveaway: All you have to do is leave a comment below by midnight September 17 and indicate you’d like to win a copy of No Peacocks!, and be a resident of the U.S. Sharing this post on Twitter and FB will also boost your chances of winning. I will announce the winner on September 19.
Robin Newman was a practicing attorney and legal editor, but she now prefers to write about witches, mice, pigs, and peacocks. She is the author of the Wilcox & Griswold Mystery series, The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake and The Case of the Poached Egg, and Hilde Bitterpickles Needs Her Sleep. She lives in New York with her husband, son, goldfish, and two spoiled Cocker Spaniels, who are extremely fond of Phil, Jim, and Harry.
Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book. To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books (PPB) with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.
*Book provided by the author.