Pigeon City: Cuckoo Feathers

A few months ago I hand wrote a review for Cuckoo Feathers, and then I lost it. Argh. So I have been putting off this post in the hopes I might just come across my notes. Sadly, the time has come for me to give up my search and consequently the review that follows might not be quite as thorough as my original.

Phylis Reynolds Naylor's Cuckoo Feathers is a story that could only take place in the city. It's Chicago this time. When we meet Sarah she is bored with white: white food and the the color of her skin. She wants to be an interesting color like her friend, Peter. Sarah's mom is an artist and comes up with a clever way of showing Sarah and Peter that their respective skin colors are much more that just "white" and "brown." While the friends are painting, a few pigeons show up. Sarah and her friends come to think of the pigeons as theirs and so when the pigeons decides to roost in a neighboring windowsill, a bit of jealousy ensues. When a third, aggressive pigeon shows up, Sarah, her old and new friends work together to find a solution.

Families who live in apartment buildings will recognize the form of community portrayed in this book: friends can watch each other across air shafts and fire escapes, neighbors can hear each other in the hallways, diversity is the norm. It is also nice to have a story about watching animal life which does not take place in the park (or the country). Marcy Ramsey's line drawn illustrations are a nice addition.

Cuckoo Feathers is an entertaining book and the story reads smoothly. It is part of a series of books about Sarah, called "Simply Sarah." It makes a nice read aloud, or an early chapter book for young readers. Extra sensitive children may be a little upset at a certain egg dropping scene, but I think Naylor handles the situation well.

Want More?
Read a general review of Simply Sarah at A Year of Reading.
Try the other Simply Sarah books: Anyone Can Eat Squid!, Patches and Scratches, and Eating Enchiladas.
Read an interview with the author.

Big Kid says: Don't take that one back to the library.


Katy Manck, MLS said...

Sounds like a charming book for kids, no matter where they live.

When my children were small, they "knew" that home was 1 story tall and that any "sleeping place" taller than that was "a motel" since that was their entire experience.

So country and suburban kids would also like to see and read about what their city friends would be experiencing - there are definitely no pigeons in our country neighborhood!

(Found you through MotherReader & Lee Wind's Comment Challenge)

**Katy Manck
Recommending YA books beyond the bestsellers at http://BooksYALove.blogspot.com
Follow me on Twitter @BooksYALove

Raising a Happy Child said...

I was intrigued by the comment above - I grew up in the city and lived in Brooklyn for a while, but my daughter now only knows suburban living. I hope she will appreciate living in the city one day. I have to look for Simply Sarah series.

Storied Cities said...

@Katy: I completely agree!

Stacy S. Jensen said...

My son lives in the burbs, so we might need to get this for the city scenes. I found you via the comment challenge. Are you familiar with Susanna Hill's Perfect Picture Book Fridays? http://susannahill.blogspot.com/p/just-right-books.html
It's been a fun way to meet new bloggers and find new books.

Anonymous said...

Clever focus to your blog. I'll be back to check out the other "cities" among the stories you find.

Bill Kirk said...

Apologies. The "Anonymous" comment above should have been Name/URL. Operator error in my haste.

Lee Wind, M.Ed. said...

Nice review - especially the bit about not revealing HOW the artist mom showed their skin colors - now I have to get this book! Thanks for sharing, and for the lovely greeting to Comment Challenge folk! Thanks for being part of the community-building, and keep on commenting!

Pat Zietlow Miller said...

Thanks for the review. I'm looking forward to reading this myself and giving it to my bookworm daughter.

Amy LV said...

What a super idea to focus on city books. This could make a great book or article. One of my favorites is MY STORIES BY HILDY CALPURNIA ROSE. It's out of print now, but a winner! a.

Medea said...

Nice to know about books where diversity is the norm! Even in the cities here in Japan that is not the case.

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