Peck, Peck, Peck by Lucy Cousins

Woodpeckers belong to a family of birds called picidae, which have the ability to bore holes into trees, thanks to their strong bills. In particular, woodpeckers have longer, sharper and stronger bills than the other species of birds in the same family β€” which probably explains why they were named as such. No thanks to Woody Woodpecker, however, I kind of grew up believing that woodpeckers peck wood just for the fun of it β€” when in truth, this specific skill has many important uses for the bird, including food foraging and nest excavation.

While you’re not going to learn any of this in Peck, Peck, Peck, the woodpecker’s signature skill is put to good use here.

The premise is as such: a little woodpecker is taught how to peck wood by his dad, who then sends him off to “practise hard and have some fun”. Good advice, no doubt, but the little woodpecker decides to practise his new-found skill on some unconventional materials, such as books, paintings, shampoo bottles, the contents of a refrigerator, and even a toilet bowl!

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Putting aside the liberal use of artistic license here, however, the best and most engaging feature of the book is that there’s a real die-cut hole on each and every object (except for the socks, strangely) that has ostensibly been pecked by the little woodpecker. Unsurprisingly, while reading the book, kids will also instinctively use their little fingers to touch and/or ‘peck’ at the holes. Of course, by doing this, they’re actually also actively pointing at the objects and effortlessly learning their names. Brilliant.

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Add this to the cheerful rhyming text and the author’s signature bold, colourful illustrations, and you have a cleverly engaging book that is almost certain to be a runaway hit with both children and their parents.

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