The recently published Patriot and Friends: Fair and Square by Michelle A. Peacock delivers a bold conservative message in a book for little patriots. The overarching narrative is written for children, but the message resonates with all ages. For the child, Fair and Square helps them understand the true meaning of fairness, the distinction between sharing and taking, and the destructive nature of envy. For the adult reading the book, however, the message tackles some of the most politically relevant issues today: class warfare and socialist agendas. Even though both levels of understanding are achieved, it is done in a way that children can easily comprehend: using animals, simple prose and brilliant illustrations by Christy Beckwith.
The story is endearing, featuring an appropriately-named main character, Patriot - a peacock with beautiful feathers. The other animals all have their own interests and get along swimmingly in the beginning. Then one day Wily Fox introduces the idea to Muddle the pig that it’s not fair that Patriot is so beautiful and has far more feathers than he needs. Soon, all the animals want what is not theirs - Patriot’s feathers. The generous Patriot is quickly left with only one feather and is pictured perched sadly on a fence. There is even a relevant reference to a Bible passage tucked away in the illustration beneath him.
Fortunately for Patriot and the other animals, there is a happy ending and the moral of the story is clear. In the animals’ pursuit of “fair-and-square sharing,” there are valuable lessons to be learned about fairness, the difference between sharing and taking, and the destructive nature of envy. The story also instills the idea that rather than being jealous of others, we must each recognize our own unique and valuable talents that when combined, make a society great and America truly exceptional.
With a PhD in clinical psychology, Peacock herself has an interesting story to tell. In an interview with Fox News’ Gretchen Carlson, she says her motivation to write this book came from concerns she had about the socialist message regarding sharing found in a popular children’s book. Peacock decided to tell the other side of that story in Fair and Square. The book couldn’t be a better debut for the author in children’s literature and is certainly a must have for every patriotic family’s bookshelf.
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