Birds and Their Feathers

Teckentrup’s work needs no introduction to people who read picturebooks. She is author of The Egg; Under the Same Sky; Neon Leon, and many more. What they all have in common is beautiful artwork and this is no exception. I don’t use the word ‘stunning’ lightly, but it is deserved here. If you know a child who loves facts, or birds, who is curious about the world, then begin with this book.

It is longer than the average picturebook, but packed with gorgeous detail about plumology, the study of feathers. In the blurb we read, ‘the feather is a bond between nature and art, and a connection between earth and heaven’. In this aesthetic production from Prestel, we have a bond between reading and art appreciation.

The text is beautiful, too. Although the intended readers are young children, there is no condescendence or dumbing down of language here – children will learn about keratin and follicle, rachis, barbs, filo- and semiplumes, iridescence and carotenoid (which makes flamingos pink). The text flows gently however and reading the book will not be a heavy chore for an interested child. It is packed with facts – numbers of feathers, longest and shortest, kinds of feathers, evolution of feathers, wing types, different kinds of flight – there are links between feathers, human history, aviation and culture.

I could go on and on. Best if you buy it for yourself. Teachers – be sure to get a copy, it will make a luscious addition to your classroom library.