Feathers and Fools

Common Sense Media says

Literary-quality fable is engaging, effective.





What parents need to know

Positive messages
Not applicable
Violence & scariness

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

Not applicable

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?


FEATHERS AND FOOLS is a timely, powerful fable, but parents should choose their audience wisely because, 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.

Families can talk 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

Author:Mem Fox
Illustrator:Nicholas Wilton
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Harcourt Brace
Publication date:January 1, 2000
Number of pages:30

This review of Feathers and Fools was written by

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About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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