Feathers and Fools

Book review by
Mary LeCompte, Common Sense Media
Feathers and Fools Book Poster Image
Literary-quality fable is engaging, effective.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Positive Messages
Violence & Scariness

Peacocks and swans sharpen their feathers to be used as weapons of war. Violent imagery in text.

Language

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this literary-quality story is an engaging, effective fable. The acrylic artwork is bright and dreamlike. Heavy on life lessons, it may be more appealing to parents and teachers than to kids.

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What's the story?

At first there is harmony, but when the peacocks and swans begin to fear one another because of their differences, their peaceful pond turns into a battlefield--with tragic results. When all seems lost, hope arises, in this profound, well-crafted, and stunningly illustrated modern-day fable worthy of comparison to Aesop's tales.

 

Is it any good?

This is a timely, powerful fable, but parents should choose their audience wisely; even though most kids will recognize the story's merit, the subject matter may sadden or disturb some. Author Mem Fox makes a point to name the most aggressive peacock "the first-and-most-foolish" and demonstrates in elegant prose how the follies of human nature -- such as prejudice, gossip, and aggression -- can lead to the despair of having to live in fear and, ultimately, face the ravages of war.

The right-hand pages are richly detailed acrylic illustrations with primitive borders, which stand out against a black background. The left-hand text pages are simply illustrated but complement the images on the right.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the moral of this story. What lessons does it try to teach? What could the birds have done differently?

Book details

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