Title: A Peacock Among Pigeons
Author: Tyler Curry
Illustrator: Clarione Gutierrez
Published: Mascot Books, 2017
Can you believe it’s almost the end of June? In Toronto that means one thing: Pride weekend! If you’ve never been to a Pride parade, I highly recommend it. I’ve been several times and it’s incredibly colourful and fun. My best friend even met his husband at Pride! It’s a good time, and it’s an important celebration of how far the LGBTQ community has come, while also recognizing how much work there is left to do. So, in honour of this wonderful weekend (technically, it’s a month-long celebration, I know), I’m going to be reviewing books written by LGBTQ authors and about LGBTQ relationships. I am a big believer in the power of picture books, and from the bottom of my heart, I feel it’s incredibly important that kids understand that love is love and everyone deserves the same happiness.
A couple of years ago, I purposely went looking for LGBTQ books to share with my girls and I kind of fell in love with A Peacock Among Pigeons. It’s all about Peter, who happens to be a peacock that was born into a family of pigeons. The pigeons really don’t get him – why is he so fancy? Why can’t he walk normally? At first, Peter tries his best to hide who he is, to fit in with his flock. The problem is, no matter what he does, he is still a peacock. He can’t contain his colourful feathers or change the way he talks.
So Peter leaves.
Initially, he’s pretty lonely. But then he meets Craig (a sassy cardinal), Sara (a friendly canary), Owen (a smart, sophisticated owl) and then those birds introduced him to MORE birds and guess what? None of them make fun of Peter! In fact, they think he’s pretty special. But it’s not until Peter notices a really gorgeous bird in a puddle that he realizes his true beauty – it’s a reflection of course, and for the first time Peter sees himself for who he truly is. And he is happy.
The last pages of the book encourage kids to embrace who they are, no matter who that might be. Whether smart or sassy or bold or cool,, just keep going and don’t let anyone get you down.
I’m not going to lie, I teared up while reading this story for the first time. I know how hard it was for my best friend to come out to his friends and family (spoiler alert: everything turned out great and everyone loves him and his husband a whole lot), and how hard it is for kids who don’t have that love and support at home. Any book that can make me cry is always a winner.
If I was going to give any creative criticism, I’d say that the book tends to be a teeny bit on the wordy side and might’ve benefited from a bit of trimming here and there. But the writing is extremely positive and uplifting, so don’t let a page of text scare you off.
My girls really enjoy this story. They like Peter and they are always so happy when he flies away from those buzzkill pigeons and ventures out to find friends who love him as he is. The art is bold and flashy and the birds have excellent facial expressions. (I’m not the only one who has issues with drawing bird expressions, right? I just never know what to do with the beak. But I digress.) The whole book will leave you feeling grateful for those who love you, and grateful that you have the chance to love them right back.
This is an excellent book for Pride weekend, or anytime you want to remind kids to love themselves and love their friends, unconditionally, for who they are.
Mama’s review: A
Vivi’s review: A bright and colourful 9/10
Lily’s review: Yay peacocks!