Feathers Not Just for Flying – Perfect Picture Book Friday.

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feathersTitle: 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,

First lines:

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.


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9 Responses to Feathers Not Just for Flying – Perfect Picture Book Friday.

  1. A favorite book of mine as well Joanna! Studying the detailed illustrations is such a pleasure, and Stewart’s text will appeal to those of us who love nature trivia!

  2. I’ve not seen this book yet but I should check it out since we’re all birders in my family. 🙂 I still can’t get over the fact that blue in feathers is not a pigmented color but a structural one.

  3. clarbojahn says:

    I quoted on my facebook page: “who said picture books were under five’s”? ” Great choice, Joanna! Love it. I”m adding this to my collection.

    I always have a number of feathers on my quilt wall hanging in the dining area of my house. I can see them from here. 🙂

  4. Love Melissa Stewart’s books. Thanks for featuring!

  5. I SO want to read this book! I saw it in the Charlesbridge catalog. I’ve been waiting for the library to get it. I’d love to see the inside illustrations. I bet they are cool.

  6. Definitely one of my favorite new nonfiction books. The art is awesome, too.

  7. Just brought this home yesterday and haven’t had a chance to look inside. Really looking forward to it now!

  8. Like the idea of a nature scrapbook. Love Melissa Stewart’s work. This looks special.

  9. Pingback: On the Wing – Perfect Picture Book Friday | Miss Marple's Musings

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