The boy spied a falling feather
He climbed to the top of a craggy mountain and caught it.
It was soft and smooth on his grimy chief.
When the sun rises on a crisp,cloudy day a sandpiper knows it is time to leave, so it takes flight, heading for warmer climes. First though, on its long journey, it flies over scenes of destruction and hardship – an earthquake, a war zone and a flood. In each place,a feather falls to earth, offering hope to a child below. Finally, as the bird reaches safety near Mia’s house, it drops one last feather. When Mia catches it, she feels lucky. The reader, who has seen the hardships faced by the other children, is particularly aware of how lucky Mia is.
Feathers is a beautiful picture book, on the surface tracing the story of a bird’s migration but, at the same time, exploring the differing fortunes of children across the globe. The theme of hope, symbolised by the bird’s feathers, is demonstrated with exquisite simplicity in both the text and in the outstanding watercolour,pencil and gouache illustrations.
Feathers , by PhilCummings andPhilLesnie
One small spark brought fire awake
Winding like a small black snake.
Fire flickered, fire crept
Flames snickered, bushfire leapt.
A fire starts small but quickly grows, spreading across the landscape, lighting up the trees, the sky – and even houses. People flee as fire fighters battle to bring the monster under control. Afterwards, there is sorrow at the devastation, but there is also hope, as comfort is spread by friends and by strangers, and by signs of life returning.
Fire is a wonderful picture book collaboration form the team which also produced Flood. Jackie French and Bruce Whatley. The rhyming text seems to echo the actions of the fire, taking the reader n a breathless journey through the smoke and ash and beyond to the gradual restoration of calm. The illustrations capture the mood of the fire, as well as the contrasting landscape before and after.
A wonderful way to open up discussion about the impact of bushfire, both for those who have experienced it and those who haven’t.
Fire, by Jackie French and Bruce Whatley
Scholastic Press, 2014
Available from good bookstores and online.