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FUR AND FEATHERS

Author: Janet Halfmann

Illustrator: Laurie Allen Klein

Reserve at the Library

Publisher: Sylvan Dell Publishing, ©2010

Material: E-Book

Summary: The howling wind woke Sophia. With her mother's help, she quickly went back to sleep. In her dream, the wind had blown so hard it took the animals' coats. First she lent them all her dress-up outfits, but that didn't work. Next she crafted new coats, just like their old ones, from the materials she had hand. From lady bug to polar bear, each was as good as new. This picture book story has lots of nonfiction content about animal skins and how they work for each species.

Type of Reading: bedtime story, family reading, anytime reading, independent reading, read aloud book, learning to read

Recommended Age: read together: 5 to 8; read yourself: 9 to 12

Interest Level: 5 to 10

Reading Level: 3.4

Age of Child: Read by a nearly 9-year-old girl. She also listened to an audio version of the book.

Young Reader Reaction: As an animal lover, our daughter was instantly drawn to this book. She laughed to see the animals in costumes, and then giggled with each of the new "skins" that Sophia crafted for her visitors.

Adult Reader Reaction: What a great way to tell a story. Kids will relate to Sophia and her desire to help. There is a subtle message about using what you have handy to meet your needs, but for most audiences that will probably have to be pointed out. They are too busy enjoying the story. The author does a great job comparing the animal's real skin with "objects" the kids know in their everyday lives. This will reinforce learning.

Pros: A light-hearted story, beautiful illustrations, and a book jam-packed with great information make this a fun book for everyone ... including mom and dad. This is a good selection for a mixed-age audience.

Cons: As always, the back of the book and the Sylvan Dell website have lots of complementary information to reinforce learning. Given that Sophia created new skins for the animals, it would have been nice to have a couple "hands on" projects where the kids could make animals themselves.

Borrow or Buy: Borrow, at least. We read (and listened to) an online version of the book, but this is one I'd like to have on the shelf. For a preschooler it is a nice story for bedtime, offering comfort from scary sounds. For elementary-aged students, it will introduce and reinforce science facts.

If You Liked This Book, Try: LITTLE SKINK'S TAIL   HERMIT CRAB'S HOME   NOISES AT NIGHT

Educational Themes: There is plenty to explore with all of the details about animals and their skins. There are also references to animal habitat that can be explored further.

Notes: The author asked that we read a copy of this book knowing that we would consider it for review and provide an independent, unbiased profile.

Literary Categories: Fiction - picture book, animal stories, nature, biology

Date(s) Reviewed: September 2010

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