The Peacocks of Palos Verdes

Mary Jo Hazard, photos by Bryce Lowe-White, Donegal (www.donegalbooks.com), $14.99 (28p) ISBN 978-0-9788128-3-6
Peacocks from California's Palos Verdes peninsula are the eye-catching stars of this square-format paper-over-board volume. Somewhat stodgy in tone, Hazard's rhymed couplets are paired with photos of feathered descendants of a dozen peafowl, which were given as a gift to an area resident in 1916, a foreword explains. Humans and the semidomesticated peacocks now share their community peaceably, as evidenced by images of peacocks sauntering across roads and lawns in residential areas ("They love Palos Verdes where they can be found/ in canyons and neighborhoods roaming around,/ marching through gardens and strutting down streets,/ crying ‘Arrrondt! Arrrondt!' to people they meet"). Lowe-White's most dramatic pictures show the birds perched on tree branches or displaying their exotic plumage at close range, but most seem casually snapped rather than composed. The narrative contains snippets of information about the species' appearance, diet, sleeping habits, and courting and nesting practices. Despite the verse's occasionally clunky rhythms and the varying quality of the photos, it's a cheering portrait of a surprising peacock habitat and interspecies coexistence. Ages 3–6.
Reviewed on: 12/20/2010
Release date: 01/01/2010
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