By Melissa Stewart, illustrated by Sarah S. Brannen
Charlesbridge Books, 2014
Suitable for: Ages 6-9
Themes/Topics: feather types, bird behaviors
Opening: “Birds and feathers go together, like trees and leaves, like stars and the sky. All birds have feathers, but no other animals do. Most birds have thousands of feathers, but those feathers aren’t all the same. That’s because feathers have so many different jobs to do.”
Brief Synopsis: Part scrapbook and part science journal, this is a colorful and intriguing exploration of all the ways birds can use their feathers. Elegantly rendered watercolor illustrations depict how sixteen species from across the world use their feathers in both typical and unexpected ways.
Why I Like This Book: Kids will love learning about the extremely unusual things some birds do with their feathers. For example, the male sandgrouse in the Gobi Desert soaks his absorbent belly feathers in a watering hole, then flies to the nest where his chicks suck the feathers to quench their thirst. I also liked the club-winged manakin from Ecuador that shakes his specially-ridged feathers to attract females with a high pitched whistling trill.
FEATHERS is a treat for the eyes as well as the mind! Laid out like a birder’s notebook, each spread features highly detailed images of the feathers in actual size as well as a portrait of the bird and its habitat. Scrapbook-style tidbits like stickers, drink umbrellas, and postage stamps serve to reinforce unique functions of the feathers, such as shading, digging or carrying.
The book concludes with a helpful author’s note on research, a detailed spread on feather types (filoplume, anyone?) and a reminder that it is prohibited to collect feathers from native wild birds without a specific permit or license.
Starred review from Publisher’s Weekly (December 16, 2013)
Links to Resources:
- Boost fine motor skills with a fun feather color matching game.
- Create feathered handprint birds.
- No feathers at hand? Try paper plate birds.
- Or just grab a pair of binoculars and head outside to watch birds in action!
Can you imagine racing across the ocean faster than a bird can fly? Check out my review of DARE THE WIND: The Record Breaking Voyage of Eleanor Prentiss and the Flying Cloud by Tracey Fern at Good Reads with Ronna.
For a complete list of great picture books with helpful teaching resources, please visit Susanna Hill’s Perfect Picture Books.