Leave it to Plumby Matt Phelan is the story of a “peppy purple peacock” & his trials & tribulations at the Athensville Zoo. Plum is a legacy – the however many times great grandson of the original zoo peacocks, given free wandering rights at the zoo, who are responsible for mingling, guiding & delighting the zoo’s visitors. Plum’s a great bird, if a little flighty (in the always late & a little scatterbrained way, not the bird way), who friends everywhere, and takes his duties – including toddler racing, selfie posing, & sign illuminating – very seriously. We also meet a grumpy ningbing named Itch, who feels like HE should be the zoo’s ambassador, as opposed to those bird-brained & undeserving peacocks. With this in mind, he hatches a plot w/the squirrels to frame the peacocks & take their place.
Also, in case you were wondering, this is what a ningbing looks like. I could see them being troublemakers.
The book is written at an advanced early reader/beginning short chapter books level, and has enough rough, but humorous illustrations to keep things moving & to help readers at that skill level remain interested. Solving the mysteries of the zoo, while making essential new friends seems to come easily to Plum, and – in the end – his problem solving abilities save the day in more than one way. It’s short, engaging & the hardest word to read in the whole book is ningbing, and that’s just because it’s rare enough to sound fake – my spellcheck certainly seems to have a problem with it. 4 stars
*My copy was provided for honest review by NetGalley.