Pecking Order?

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Monica Reeve, Pecking Order?, Forty South Publishing,  2019, 34 pp., RRP $24.95 (hbk), ISBN 9780648675716

Which is the most important bird in the treetops? Each bird though he knew, of course. 

The cock wakes everyone every morning, but the hen reminds him that she provides eggs, and wings and breasts and legs! The swallows celebrate their speed. Bower bird is proud of his stolen blue items. The parrot has mastered language. The peacock’s tail splendour must surely win. 

And finally, they acknowledge their uniqueness, celebrating their differences and diversity. Peace comes at the ending with a short homage to the dove. 

This is an excellent way to recognise difference as well as similarities, and that we all should recognise our strengths and weaknesses. I especially enjoyed the complexity of words used and the end papers reinforce the words: words about conflict at the front of the book and about harmony at the end. The illustrations are vibrant and though the format remains the same throughout the book – four lines of text on the left, and illustration on the right – the reader doesn’t know what to expect because of the colour and placement, and variety of birds depicted. 

I really enjoyed this book, more and more each time I read it. Recommended.  

Reviewed by Maureen Mann 

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