The Wish and The Peacock Summary
Paige’s favorite family tradition on the farm is the annual bonfire where everyone tosses in a stone and makes a wish. This time, Paige’s specific wish is one she’s not sure can come true: Don’t let Mom and Grandpa sell the farm.
When Paige’s younger brother finds a wounded peacock in the barn, Paige is sure it’s a sign that if she can keep the bird safe, she’ll keep the farm safe too. Peacocks, after all, are known to be fierce protectors of territory and family.
With determination and hard work, Paige tries to prove she can save the farm on her own, but when a real estate agent stakes a “For Sale” sign at the end of the driveway and threatens everything Paige loves, she calls on her younger brother and her best friends, Mateo and Kimana, to help battle this new menace. They may not have street smarts, but they have plenty of farm smarts, and some city lady who’s scared of spiders should be easy enough to drive away.
But even as the peacock gets healthier, the strain of holding all the pieces of Paige’s world together gets harder. Faced with a choice between home and family, she risks everything to make her wish come true, including the one thing that scares her the most: letting the farm go.
The Wish and the Peacock Review
Author Wendy S. Swore must be a middle schooler in grown-up clothing. She has a particular gift of insight into the challenges and thought processes of pre-adolescent girls. As in A Monster Like Me, our heroine, Paige, is facing both external and internal conflicts in her life.
Paige is an Idaho farm girl, all of 12 years old, whose father was killed in an accident. As she bravely tries to keep his legacy alive and keep their farm running, she is faced with even more changes. The farm is facing foreclosure and must be sold.
But the story isn’t told just through Paige. There is an engaging cast of characters who help to tell Paige’s story and illustrate her challenges. From the peacock she and her nerdy, book-loving, partner-in-crime little brother Scotty find, to their loyal friends Mateo and Kimana, and then to a supporting cast that includes mom, grandad, and a mysterious man who turns out to be a journalist, all play a role in helping us to understand Paige’s story.
The peacock that Scotty and Paige find is integral to the story. They decide this injured bird is a good luck charm, and if they can save him, they can save the farm. As the story develops it becomes a symbol of what they seek to save, and eventually learn they must let go.
In the beginning, we aren’t entirely sure what is happening or why Paige feels as she does, mirroring the confusion of the middle-grade years. The story unfolds piece by piece, and we begin to gain insight into why Paige is acting as she does along the way. While parts of the story are sad, I love that the focus is on the importance of family, and friendships, and learning to accept the changes in our lives.
I also enjoyed that Ms. Swore incorporated the area’s cultural and historical aspects into her story, including a character who was a member of the local Bannock-Shoshone tribe.
The Wish and The Peacock is an excellent story, another good one for family reading and helping children to talk about the changes and challenges in their lives. Even though it is a middle-grade reader, it is a good choice for all ages.
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The Wish and The Peacock by Wendy S. Swore is available in hardcover and Kindle editions from Amazon.com.