Leave It to Plum!

by Matt Phelan

On Sale: 06/07/2022

Leave It to Plum!

Enlarge Book Cover

Leave It to Plum!

by Matt Phelan

illustrated by Matt Phelan

On Sale: 06/07/2022


Texas Bluebonnet Award

Bank Street Children’s Best Books of the Year

Junior Library Guild Selection

About the Book

“An instant hit.”Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

“A splendid hullabaloo at the zoo.”Booklist

“A buoyant tale.”School Library Journal

When a small mammal with an oversized ego tries to take over the zoo, just leave it to the big-hearted peacock Plum to save the day! From award-winning author Matt Phelan, the creator of Knights vs. Dinosaurs and its two sequels, Leave It to Plum! is a highly illustrated young middle grade novel perfect for reluctant readers and animal lovers everywhere.

Young Plum is one of the peacock ambassadors for the Athensville Zoo. Every day the peacocks are allowed to wander freely among the zoo’s visitors, delighting and guiding kids and grown-ups alike. The peacocks are very proud of their responsibility; none so much as kind, curious Plum.

But Itch the ningbing—a type of very small marsupial—doesn’t understand why those birdbrains should get so much freedom while he’s all cooped up. So he plots and plots, sure that he will escape and become the zoo ambassador!

With short chapters and energetic black-and-white illustrations, award-winning author Matt Phelan’s Leave It to Plum! is a highly illustrated young middle grade novel full of warmth and humor. The first hilarious story in a series about a young peacock with a big heart, a small mammal with a big ego, and the busy zoo they both live in is perfect for fans of the Princess in Black and Mercy Watson series.

Critical Praise

“In this alliterative zoo tale, peppy purple peacock Plum befriends Jeremy, a sad and solitary street kitty, who returns the favor by saving all the peafowl from a frightening fate. . . . The expressive ink-and-wash animal portraits that pack his short chapters of well-paced narrative are done in a fanciful style. . . . A buoyant tale for younger middle grade readers, with a mild dose of danger for spice and an extroverted protagonist on a mission to ‘mingle, guide, delight.’ — School Library Journal

“Plum the peacock . . . and the rest of his flock are charged with welcoming and interacting with the human visitors . . . But trouble is brewing in the form of disgruntled ningbing Itch, a tiny Australian marsupial who seethes about the unfairness of his own captivity . . . The story is a hoot . . . Young readers will relish this splendid hullabaloo at the zoo.” — Booklist

“A bighearted peacock with boundless cheer stars in this lively zoo caper by Phelan. . . . Peacocks have long been official guest ambassadors at the Athensville Zoo . . . but not everyone is happy about the arrangement, especially not a dour, power-hungry marsupial called Itch . . . With occasional grayscale art presented alongside amusingly self-important, cinematically rendered characters, Phelan offers winning animalian antics for chapter book beginners.” — Publishers Weekly

“Plum the peacock is content with his life at Athensville Zoo . . . [but] Itch the ningbing has had it with all the peacocks strutting around, mingle-guide-delighting visitors. With the help of some devious squirrels, he enacts a brilliantly evil plan to overthrow the birds’ reign. . . . Both accessible and goofy, with a cast of amusingly quirky characters and a surprising amount of emotional weight. . . . An instant hit with kids who like to root for the underdog (cat? bird?).” — Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

“The peacocks at the Athensville zoo have the privilege of roaming the premises, welcoming visitors with their impressive fantails with instructions to ‘Mingle! Guide! Delight!’ Jealous ningbing Itch, a resident of the Small and Unusual Mammal Pavilion, decides that he has had enough of the free-ranging peacocks . . . [and] frames the peacocks for a series of small thefts. . . . A heavily illustrated novel . . . has the visual presentation, lively characters, and fast plot that make for a friendly experience for early-chapter-book readers." — Horn Book Magazine


Product Details

  • ISBN: 9780063079168
  • ISBN 10: 006307916X
  • Imprint: Greenwillow Books
  • On Sale: 06/07/2022
  • Pages: 128
  • List Price:23.99 CAD
  • Ages: 8 to 12
  • BISAC1 : JUVENILE FICTION / Animals / Zoos
  • BISAC2 : JUVENILE FICTION / Social Themes / Friendship
  • BISAC3 : JUVENILE FICTION / Humorous Stories

Leave It to Plum! by Matt Phelan, Matt Phelan

The broadest selection of online bookstores. The links will take you to the web site's home page.

Other Booksellers

The broadest selection of online bookstores. The links will take you to the Web site's home page.


Specialty Booksellers

Interest-specific online venues and gift accounts that offer books for purchase. The links will take you to the store’s home page.

International Customers

If you are located outside Canada, the best way to order online is to choose from the following bookstores listed by region and country.