Review Blog

Aug 20 2015

The Red Feather by Ben Kitchin

cover image

Ill. by Owen Swan. New Frontier Publishing, 2015. ISBN 9780957988439
(Age: 3-6) Recommended. Themes: Friendship, Feathers, Beaches, Children, Play, Imagination. The Red Feather is a charming picture celebrating friendship and imagination as four young friends enjoy an outing to the beach. Young Claude, Shelby, William and Maya walk down to the beach ready for a day of swimming, playing and having fun. Whilst the others spread out the towel and set up the beach umbrella, Claude finds a most beautiful red feather. He proudly walks around with the feather in his hair until he realises he's hungry. Shelby exchanges her whole watermelon for the feather, Claude sadly agrees. Each child plays with the feather until a situation occurs and they need something that another friend has, Sophie exchanges the feather for an umbrella to protect her from the rain and William wraps his cold body in Maya's warm blanket. Finally, they come to the realisation that sharing the feather and the blanket, watermelon and umbrella makes for a lovely beach outing. Owen Swan has included an older man and his dog bobbing in the waves in their boat, a hint of someone who may be the adult looking after the children on the beach. The dog is the last to enjoy the red feather before it is taken away by a seagull.
Ben Kitchin's gentle narrative is beautifully illustrated by Owen Swan in pen, watercolour and colour pencil. He expressively captures the child characters with soft pastel colors, pale blue, sandy yellow and watery green. The red feather boldly dances, swirls and twirls across the pages communicating the characters' feelings. This simple picture book speaks of friendship, sharing and creativity.
Rhyllis Bignell

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