What the ningbing?


Time for the Mandatory Morning Meeting of the Athensville Zoo Peacocks. The peacocks are the zoo's ambassadors, and they roam the grounds to mingle with, delight, and guide zoo guests. Plum (who is always late for the meeting BTW) loves her job and is always excited to explore the grounds to prepare for her day. Enter Itch the ningbing (an Australian marsupial). Why did the peacocks get to roam the grounds while he, Itch, had great knowledge but was stuck in a cage? Itch hatches a plan that is sure to show the world that he did not have the brain of a bird. He is a genius!

Parent Perspective
This is a refreshing, fun story. Part mystery, part friendship story. Itch is introduced in Chapter 2, so readers know who the "bad guy" is, but how Itch's plan plays out will be a mystery they will want to follow to the end. There is an early clue they are sure to have forgotten until it comes in later. One of those "aha" moments readers love. The illustrations are as fun as the story. 

In addition to being a great book for nearly-independent readers, LEAVE IT TO PLUM would make a "first chapter book" read aloud when you're ready to go beyond picture books. Highly recommended. 

Reader Enjoyment Factors:

A fun story with the things young readers love: humor, animals (known and unknown), a little mystery, and friendship. The story moves along at a perfect pace for young listeners and new readers alike.

Content Awareness Factors:


Type of Book:
This is an early chapter book mystery.
Educational Themes:

The author offers a few facts about ningbings. Seize the opportunity to learn more: photos, a visit to the zoo, etc.

Reading Level:
Recommended Age To Read By Yourself:
7 and Up
Recommended Age To Read Together:
5 and Up
Purchase Recommendation:
Buy. This is a story you can read aloud as an introduction to chapter books, and then young readers can read themselves later.

Title Leave It To Plum!
Author Matt Phelan
Publisher Greenwillow Books, Imprint HarperCollins Publishers © 2022
Illustrators Matt Phelan
ISBN 9780063079168
Material Hard Cover
Cost $16.99
Genres Easy Reader, Humor
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