Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “I Saw a Peacock with a Fiery Tail” as Want to Read:
I Saw a Peacock with a Fiery Tail
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

I Saw a Peacock with a Fiery Tail

4.23  ·  Rating Details ·  215 Ratings  ·  40 Reviews
A New York Times "Favorite Book Cover Design 2012" Pick

"Delightfully illustrated" - The New York Times

"In this visual stunner...the literal setting of the words is as key to the volume’s success as are its text and illustrations... Indian folk art triumphantly meets 17th-century English trick verse in this sophisticated graphic venture fit for middle graders on up." - Star
Hardcover, 56 pages
Published May 15th 2012 by Tara Books (first published May 8th 2012)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about I Saw a Peacock with a Fiery Tail, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about I Saw a Peacock with a Fiery Tail

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Jul 31, 2014 Kaion rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens, reviewed
This is gorgeous.

If adult poetry books had cut-outs, I think more people might read more poetry. (They certainly couldn't read less.)

At what point does school teach you that poetry is boring and obscure?
For me, somewhere in high school -- after Fitzgerald's Rubaiyat and before Eliot's "The Wasteland". Having graduated the effusive poetry writing phases, we are to soberly graduate the poetry appreciation phase as well.

Tara Books is an interesting publisher, dedicated to producing beautiful, mode
Jan 17, 2017 Julia rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry, book
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This was recommended to me somehow. Goodreads? Amazon? Someone in real life? Who knows? Anyway, I knew absolutely nothing about it before I opened it, other than the cover looked pretty awesome. I'd never read the poem before, which has apparently been around since the 1600s, so I was kind of a blank slate. In the end, I like the poem a lot, the art is interesting and the format intriguing, but... I felt like the text at the very beginning makes it clear that my mind should be like, totally BLOW ...more
Megan (ReadingRover)
I'm not going to lie, I took this book out from the library because of the illustrations. They're totally amazing and the cutouts on the pages make the book all the more fantastic. The poem is pretty good too. The problem I had with the book was the placement of the text on each page. It was all over the place. So much so that I often didn't know which of the two lines I should be reading first (there were always two lines to a page). I wish I was more wowed but I wasn't. The cover is gorgeous a ...more
Oct 18, 2012 Sienna rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012, poetry
Doing my bit to indoctrinate today's youth with a love of history, a love of poetry, and the knowledge that just because it's old doesn't mean it's out of touch or irrelevant: this will be a Christmas present mostly for our niece (4.5) but also her little brother (almost two) that I hope they'll enjoy more and more as they grow. It's exquisite, Ramsingh Urveti's black and white illustrations at once playful and sophisticated as they make sense of those tricky line breaks. It doesn't feel monochr ...more
Love how the marvelous, varied cutouts give/reveal meaning to this 17th century English poem. About perceiving and perception, and what is really as it seems. And appropriately, the last one is of an eye. A visual delight.

Detailed, linear, illustrations in black and white. Ramsigh Urveti, the illustrator is from central India. Jonathan Yamakami, the book's graphic designer, is from Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Jim Erekson
Feb 24, 2013 Jim Erekson rated it liked it
Shelves: picturebooks, poetry
The folk art is fun to look at, and the book is beautifully designed. I was glad the poem was presented in its entirety at the beginning, because the breakup of the lines was a little confusing during the reading. The cutouts was an interesting graphic device for revealing the poem's 'trick'. I don't think the author should have revealed the trick until the end of the book, but then it would be even harder to read the first time through. This kind of mixing is great for imagery.
Dec 16, 2012 Bobby rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
A very creative and original book. Based on a 17th century British poem that can be read two ways, depending on how one breaks the verse (each with a very different meaning). The book has beautiful and very clever illustrations accompanying the poem. It's hard to really explain...this book just has to be experienced...I've never seen anything else like it!
Lu Benke
Jan 19, 2013 Lu Benke rated it really liked it
A "concrete" treatment of a poem that I would think young adults especially (including college age) would truly appreciate. I imagine the illustrator Urveti went through a tremendously satisfying process creating this version of a well-known poem with cutouts that allow it to doubleback on itself. Another experience where semiotics have given me new tools to think about what I just experienced!
Amy Paget
Jun 13, 2015 Amy Paget rated it really liked it
Do you remember the poem “I Saw a Peacock with a Fiery Tail”? It’s a 17th century English poem included in classic anthologies of children’s poetry especially because it is a ‘trick verse’. Graphic designer, Jonathan Yamakami and illustrator Ramsing Urvetti have teamed up in I Saw a Peacock with a Fiery Tail to unlock the verse tricks that move from the surreal to the sensible. Urvetti’s fine black and white pen drawings work effectively with strategically shaped and placed ‘cut outs’ to produce ...more
Shonna Froebel
Nov 19, 2012 Shonna Froebel rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, poetry
A lovely book, with black and white illustrations, deceptively simple, but with depth, this book illustrates the poem of the title, which originated in 17th century England. The poem is trick verse, which gives different meanings depending on how it is read. One way of reading makes perfect sense, and the other leads to fantastic images. This particular version uses those different readings to inspire the illustrations, with the design of the book leading you forward with the poem. Besides the i ...more
Laurelyn Anne
Dec 31, 2014 Laurelyn Anne rated it really liked it
I picked this up at the church book table after services with my dad, my second favorite reward/component of Sundays (Dad and I also go to get margaritas and Mexican food after church). It was placed with the children's books. I think maybe because of the cut-outs?

It is a vivid blue book cover with cut outs, giving the reader tactile satisfaction. The illustrations are black and white, Edward Gorey-esque in their hard lined morbidity, somewhere between elaborate shadow puppets and modern.

I rea
Shreela Sen
Sep 29, 2016 Shreela Sen rated it it was amazing
Shelves: bookworm-s-books
I saw too much!
An intelligent book, a visually "different" book, an intellectual book, if You like! I purchased it, reading this rave review :
One suggestion, If You are not already familiar with the poem, do NOT read the 2nd page, where the poem is analysed. It spoilt the fun for me. Instead, dive right into the book starting pg 3. :)
May 11, 2014 emma rated it it was amazing
This was actually pretty startling, because the way the poem is written was so... new (actually it wasn't since it was written in the 1600's...) and utterly different from any poem I had read before.
The book is actually just this short poem and illustrated... but to get the coolness of it, you have to read the first page and then the entire book.
Becki Iverson
Dec 13, 2012 Becki Iverson rated it liked it
This sweet little book is a great way to introduce yourself into poetic duality. The clever black and white illustrations and especially the inventive cutouts reinterpret the original poem with every flip of a page. I can see this being an excellent poetry/rhythm primer for elementary age kids, and regardless is a fun play on words for the grownups, too.
Chris Callaway
Dec 07, 2012 Chris Callaway rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens-books
This is a beautifully illustrated and designed version of a 17th century children's poem. The poem is inventive in the way it structures its lines to form seemingly-nonsensical statements that actually make sense when read in a not-too-secret pattern. The artwork is a perfect match to the text, and each page uses cut outs to help expose the poem's deeper structure.
"In this visual stunner...the literal setting of the words is as key to the volume’s success as are its text and illustrations... Indian folk art triumphantly meets 17th-century English trick verse in this sophisticated graphic venture fit for middle graders on up." - Starred, Kirkus Reviews
Micah McCarty
Jun 29, 2012 Micah McCarty rated it it was amazing
This is a beautifully simple book that I read with Harper. It is a lovely play on language and any fan of words or poetry will immediately love it. The illustrations are wonderful. Great for kids or adults.
Apr 15, 2013 Dhali rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I love Tara books and this is one of the best(the other is The Night Life of Trees). Indian publisher and 17th century verse PLUS beautiful paper, beautiful illustrations, beautifully designed pages and cutaways all adds up to a perfect book for adults and children.
Muralidar S. Ram
Jul 06, 2015 Muralidar S. Ram rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Beautifully crafted. What the poem says per se is different from what the craftsmanship has to say. 'I saw a Peacock with a Fiery Tail' is a witty poem, a good example of what is known as magic realism, made beautifully evident by craftsmanship.
Jun 21, 2012 Katharine rated it it was amazing
Stunning artwork. Simple and beautiful poem.
Gillian Dawson
Mar 22, 2013 Gillian Dawson rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2013
Feb 01, 2013 Miri rated it it was amazing
Amazing rendition of the 17th-century English folk poem, with Indian folk art and die-cut illustrations that tell both versions of the trick verse at the same time.
truck verse. a lesson on grammar & punctuation.
this is like a kids book for adults? a beautifully illustrated and interesting take on the poem with cut outs, but i need a little more substance so it feels more like a book than book art.
Dec 19, 2012 Amy rated it liked it
Stunning art and pages with cut-outs
May 25, 2012 Allison rated it it was amazing
Emer Martin
May 21, 2014 Emer Martin rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens
Classic book. Wonderful lay out. Kids loved it. Anything by this publishing company is a collectable.
Edward Sullivan
Jan 30, 2013 Edward Sullivan rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, all-ages, art
Stunning black-and-white illustrations and exceptionally designed.
Mar 29, 2013 Jen rated it it was amazing
Shelves: pb, poetry
great book with which to present an old poem to children. die cut illustrations highlighting a play of words depending on where the punctuation is. SOOOO COOOOOOL.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Night Life of Trees
  • Gobble You Up!
  • Henri's Walk to Paris
  • Beastly Verse
  • Water Sings Blue: Ocean Poems
  • Ocean Sunlight: How Tiny Plants Feed the Seas
  • GUYKU: A Year of Haiku for Boys
  • Sherlock Sam and the Missing Heirloom in Katong (Sherlock Sam #1)
  • Adi Parva - Churning of the Ocean
  • Tap Dancing on the Roof: Sijo (Poems)
  • Pug: And Other Animal Poems
  • Stardines Swim High Across the Sky: and Other Poems
  • I Lay My Stitches Down: Poems of American Slavery
  • The Big New Yorker Book of Dogs
  • Looking Like Me
  • To Be A Cat
  • The Where, the Why, and the How: 75 Artists Illustrate Wondrous Mysteries of Science
  • তিথিডোর

Share This Book