January 22, 2015
Feathers: Not Just for Flying by Melissa Stewart, illustrated by Sarah S. Brannen
Not Just for Flying
by Melissa Stewart
illustrated by Sarah S. Brannen
If you are looking for books for young scientists, be sure to check out Feathers: Not Just for Flying by Melissa Stewart. We all know that birds use their feathers to fly. Some of us realize that they use them for show and for insulation as well.
But did you know that birds also use their feathers as sunscreen, musical instruments, carrying cases, and shovels? Neither did I.
Each spread (two facing pages) includes a fact about a type of feather (cusions like a pillow), a bird that has this type of feather (Wood duck), details about this bird and type of feather and several illustrations. Some of the birds, such as the blue jay and peacock, are fairly well known. Others, including the club-winged manakin and anhinga, aren’t familiar to most people.
Following the main body of the text, Stewart included a section on how scientists classify feathers. Stewart is very forthright in admitting that scientists themselves have not come to an agreement on how to do this and that the system she presents is only one of several.
Brannen’s watercolor illustrations are almost photographic in their accuracy when it comes to depicting the look of individual feathers. That said, the images in this text are not photographic in appearance.
Pick this book up for bird lovers and young scientists and be prepared to spend some time observing individual birds and how they use their feathers.