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.
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.