Every now and then I discover a book which stops me in my tracks and compels me to open its cover. Fox and Fine Feathers arrested me in such a fashion when I first came across it – I simply could not walk away without at least cracking the first few pages.
The stunning lino-cut, pencil and pastel illustrations drew my attention immediately. Children will love searching for the birds hidden within the landscapes, their camouflage enhanced by the illustration style.
Animal behaviours and an important message
Lyrebird, Coucal, Pitta and Night-jar are birds of the forest floor. Although as different as it is possible to be from one another, they always look out for danger and warn each other. But one day, only Night-jar is watching. Can he warn the others in time?
Written and illustrated by Narelle Oliver and published by Scholastic Australia, this story has all the elements I’ve been searching for. It brings animal behaviours to life in their native environments, enlivened by rich descriptive text. A deep message is shared in a way which children can easily understand.
It’s no wonder it was shortlisted for the 2010 CBCA Awards!
Apart from having all the ingredients I like to see in a wildlife picture book, the final pages contain notes on the habitats and species depicted in the story, adding even more value to the book as a resource for inquisitive children.
Fox and Fine Feathers is perfect for classroom discussions and lessons on:
- introduced species,
- predator-prey relationships,
- ground-dwelling birds,
- food chains and,
- animal defense mechanisms.
There’s an array of lesson plan examples developed for the classroom. Teachers and keen parents can find them here.
If you’ve been on the lookout for an educational, yet entertaining read for your children or students, I encourage you to take a look at this beautifully crafted story.