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I Saw a Peacock with a Fiery Tailby Jonathan Yamakami
Synopses & Reviews
A New York Times "Favorite Book Cover Design 2012" Pick
"Delightfully illustrated" - The New York Times
"In this visual stunner...the literal setting of the words is as key to the volumes success as are its text and illustrations... Indian folk art triumphantly meets 17th-century English trick verse in this sophisticated graphic venture fit for middle graders on up." - Starred, Kirkus Reviews
"A stunning reminder of why people keep making real-live books... Visually delicious and beautifully made. . . a testament to the vitality of two art forms that just won't answer to their death knells: poetry and the book." - NPR Summer Reads Pick
This 17th century British poem is a form of trick verse. Here, the very design of the book brings clarity to the verse, as whimsical die-cuts in each page reveal the poem's nuanced meaning. Read straightforwardly, the poem sounds interestingly surreal. But if the lines are broken up in the middle, then everything falls into place. Illustrations by award-winning Gond artist Ramsingh Urveti (of The Night Life of Trees), book design by Jonathan Yamakami.
US Grade Level Equivalent: 2
US Guided Reading Level: K
"'I saw a peacock with a fiery tail/ I saw a blazing comet drop down hail,' are lines from a piece of 17th-century English trick verse whose meaning alters depending on where the lines break. This slim book takes advantage of that duality, using die-cuts and Indian tribal artist Urveti's b&w illustrations to illustrate the poem's multiple potential meanings. In one scene, 'a sturdy oak' is seen 'with ivy circled round,' but on the next page, it begins to 'creep on the ground,' its trunk transforming into rows of beetlelike creatures. With each line building upon the previous one and evoking the line that follows, readers may begin to think of a poem less as a chronological line than as a web of words, images, and possibilities. All ages." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"With each line building upon the previous one and evoking the line that follows, readers may begin to think of a poem less as a chronological line than as a web of words, images, and possibilities." -Publishers Weekly
"Stunningly modern...a lyrical way to learn that all is not as it seems" -ForeWord Reviews
"Its enthralling." - School Library Journal "Fuse #8"
This 17th century British poem is a form of trick verse. Here, the very design of the book brings clarity to the verse, as whimsical die-cuts in each page reveal the poem's nuanced meaning.
I saw a peacock with a fiery tail
I saw a blazing comet drop down hail
I saw a cloud with ivy circled around ...
Read straightforwardly, it sounds interestingly surreal. But if the lines are broken up in the middle, then everything falls into place. At the simplest level, the poem is a lesson on grammar and punctuation. Even the youngest of readers will delight in the overturning of logic, and the trick with which meaning can be made to return. But as with most folklore, this poem is not just for children. Adults will marvel at the way it teases out the paths of meaning.
About the Author
Illustrator Ramsingh Urveti belongs to the Gond tribe of artists from Madhya Pradesh in central India. A winner of national and international awards, Ramsinghs art is intense and poetic. He contributed to Taras highly acclaimed "The Night Life of Trees," and this is his first book as a solo artist.
Jonathan Yamakami is a young graphic designer hailing from São Paulo, Brazil. He is particularly interested in exploring new ways of presenting and conceiving of the book, and has worked with Tara on a number of seminal projects.
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