Title: Feathers Not Just for Flying
Written by Melissa Stewart
Illustrated by Sarah S. Brannen
Published by Charlesbridge, 2014
Ages: 6 through adult
Themes: feathers, birds,
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.
Melissa Stewart presents her readers with a knowledgeable and fascinating nonfiction science picture book, about the uses of feathers. Indeed, they are not just used for bird locomotion. She presents the multitude of secondary uses of birds’ feathers by comparing each function to some common object all children will be able to relate to. “Feathers can shade out sun like an umbrella… or protect skin like sunscreen.” or “Feathers can soak up water like a sponge”. She shares sixteen different uses for feathers aside from flight. I doubt whether most of us could come up with that list! The illustrations are created almost as an ornithologist’s journal, with pictures of birds represented like photos though done in exquisite watercolors.
Why I like this book:
Brannen’s illustrational format is perfect – created as a nature scrapbook with the feathers, and notes and other incoidentals like sunscreen and stamps. Labels are created to appear as though they have been scotched, stapled or glued to the pages (some are torn or stained). The natural beauty and the practicality of these feathers are a marvel. I confess my favorite is the rosy-faced Lovebird from Namibia (sadly i don’t remember seeing any) who collects building materials for her nest and carries them, well you’ll need to read how, and it isn’t in her beak! These plumes will delight nature-lovers and any inquisitive child! I would even give this as a gift to adult ornithologist friends! Who said the picture book is only for the under-fives!!
Melissa Stewart has some cool activities on her website.
- Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book. To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books with teaching resources and activities, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Books.