Monday, February 16, 2015

Nonfiction Monday: Feathers: Not just for flying by Melissa Stewart, illustrated by Sarah S. Brannen

I was sure I had reviewed this title - and then realized that I hadn't at all! I merely thought I had because I used it an an outreach visit to kindergarten classes and we had such an involved discussion (specifically around whether or not penguins have feathers) that I thought I'd reviewed it. This is the winner of the Elementary/Middle Grade Nonfiction category in Cybils and deserves every accolade that can be heaped up on it, in my opinion.

The book begins with an expanded spread of the cover, introducing the idea that feathers do many different things. The illustrations show different types and sizes of feathers of a particular bird and the text explains one of their uses. This illustration also pictures a familiar object to the compare to the feather's use. The bird is also pictured in a detailed illustration, the caption including its name and location.

So, for example, a tricolored heron is shown spreading out its wings like an umbrella to shade itself from the sun. The illustrations include a small and large feather and a tiny umbrella. The pages have the smooth, slightly textured look of an eggshell with the illustrations drawn so they look like pictures and found objects attached to a scrapbook. Some have tape or tiny pins drawn to look as though they are holding the pictures to the pages, while the feathers and other objects are delicately shadowed to give the impression that they are 3 dimensional objects.

The text is separated into a simple sentence "Feathers can glide like a sled" and then supplemented with additional text in captions and on the paper shapes added to the "scrapbook". Information on different types of feathers, with illustrations, and an author's note which mentions research methods are included at the back.

Verdict: The layered text makes this accessible for a wide range of readers and listeners, from very young to elementary age children. The illustration style is not only interesting and beautiful, it may also inspire children to create their own nature notebooks. A lovely, useful book, highly recommended.

ISBN: 9781580894302; Published 2014 by Charlesbridge; Purchased for the library

1 comment:

Alysa Stewart said...

can't wait to read this one! and your review makes me want to read it all the more.