Review Blog

Oct 30 2008

Peka-Boo the smallest bird in all the world by Eliza Feely

cover image

Allen and Unwin, 2008. ISBN 978-1-74175541-1
(All ages) Highly recommended. What a unique book! Life as the smallest bird in the world can be 'tough-witchetty'. Peka-Boo has to crack an egg twenty times his own size to arrive, and then finds that he can't keep up with his big brothers. When he is too tricky his mother sends him to stay with Kapecki, the weirdest, deaf bird in the bush. How can Peka-Boo get his attention and solve the enigmatic puzzle he poses?

The language is refreshing and the imagery is remarkable in this book. It is sprinkled with unusual Australian sayings like 'gobdropper', 'feral feathers', and 'stone quiet' that make the readers stop and think. Descriptions like 'Our family tree must have more shoots than a mouldy potato' conjure up wonderful images in the reader's mind and all are in keeping with the interests that a little bird would have. The humour of the story is most appealing and the reader will want to go and listen to magpies and kookaburras to hear their sounds.

The bird characters are also engrossing. Peka-Book is an exuberant little attention seeker with a wonderful family that the reader will fall in love with. Kapecki is wise and happy to spend time with the smallest bird in the world.

The black and white illustrations of Peka-Boo and his family contrast with the vivid colour of the surrounding bush. There is much to discover on a close examination of the pictures: humourous little asides and labels add to the fun. Lively sketches of Peka-Boo doing things like riding snails and screeching at Kapecki are very enjoyable and it is fun to find the tiny magpie in the illustrations.

This is a most rewarding book as each time it is read, new things are found to think about and new images spring from the pictures. I loved it and can see it as a future, timeless re-read.
Pat Pledger

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