Kirkus Reviews QR Code


by Sita Singh ; illustrated by Stephanie Fizer Coleman

Pub Date: March 2nd, 2021
ISBN: 978-0-593-11644-9
Publisher: Philomel

A peacock learns to love his unusual appearance with a little help from his friends—and a well-timed thunderstorm.

Mo and his close-knit crew of fledgling peacocks do everything together. They have many things in common except for their coats: His friends sport brown and yellow feathers, and Mo’s down is stark white. As the peachicks grow up together, Mo’s snowy mantle remains while his friends’ plumage turns “bright, bold, beautiful colors.” Whenever this fact causes Mo to “feel different,” his pals chime in with reassurances. “You’re still a peacock!” they say, and, “Birds of a feather groom together!” These affirmations help at first, but Mo’s all-too-familiar feelings of loneliness intensify when the Annual Dance in the Rain arrives. Mo sits on the sidelines, too glum to dance in the year’s first rain with his friends. Soon, the night gives way to stormier conditions, thwarting the revelers with low visibility. Lightning flashes, and Mo realizes his pearly plumage is aglow; if he joins the festivities, he can light the way and save the party. Swooping in, “Mo saw what he’d had all along—bright, bold, beautiful feathers.” Debut author Singh gives fresh wings to the dare-to-be-different narrative by normalizing Mo’s tougher feelings, even with the presence of supportive friends. Still, an overlong story plus a couple unhelpful responses from Mo’s mates (“Don’t think about it!”; “Colors don’t make the bird!”) dampen the story. Backmatter includes a note from the author about her heritage as well as peacock facts. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-16-inch double-page spreads viewed at 19.7% of actual size.)

Like a peacock, this tale’s shining qualities don’t necessarily get the story off the ground.

(Picture book. 6-10)