Three peacocks who live at New York’s Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine try to expand their diets.
Tired of sunflower seeds (oddly, depicted as bullet-shaped heaps of golden granules), Phil, Jim, and Harry venture into the neighborhood for some variety only to be turned away everywhere with the titular exclamation. Tempted by “a whiff of something yummy,” they follow their noses to a nearby school, where children are enjoying “ooey, gooey, creamy and delicious mac ’n cheese.” Fascinated to the point of obsession, Phil, Jim, and Harry try daily to sneak into the school. Finally, a kid with “a connection” supplies them with the coveted foodstuff—and, anticlimactically, they don’t like it. Based on three actual peacocks at the cathedral who roam the neighborhood and eat anything, the plot stretches out its build past the breaking point, so the final punchline lands only glancingly. Ewald’s slick, animation-inspired digital illustrations have a glossy, off-putting look that fails to supply the visual verve the story needs. They depict a multicultural neighborhood and school population. The peacocks themselves (two blue, one white) look a lot more like Foghorn Leghorn with paddle-shaped tails than the striking ornamental fowl, which is underscored by the photographs that accompany an author’s note.
Fun for kids who know the cathedral (and for patrons of its gift shop); skippable for everybody else. (Picture book. 4-7)