A feather on a wing by Maria Speyer

cover image

A little girl feels alone in the dark, so her sister tells her stories that transport her to other places and show her that she is part of something very much bigger and never alone. Just as each feather is part of a wing and that wing makes birds fly, so she is part of something. She is a flower in the dairy chain, a drop of rain in a shower, a letter in the alphabet and so they can tell each other a whole host of stories.

Each comparison will entreat younger readers to see themselves as part of something much larger than themselves, opening up a wider horizon, a vista of where they fit in the universe. They will see a drop in a shower, a flower in a daisy chain, a stitch in a scarf, inviting them to make up a line for themselves. They could be a grain of sand on the beach, or a cloud in the sky, the possibilities are endless and children will love making up new lines for this story.

Each metaphor adds a line saying why that comparison is made. So the stone set in a bridge makes the bridge strong, and a stitch in the scarf keeps us warm.

The sleepless child is comforted knowing she is part of something bigger, happy to see how she fits in with the wider world, that she is not alone.

Children will love following the lines of the story seeing it add another layer of togetherness, showing us that we are all feathers and when we work together we fly. The illustrations suit the story, adding a magical quality as the muted colours replicate evening when the child cannot sleep. The sisters go on a magical journey, an adventure through the night, seeing the things spoken of in the text. A loving, caring relationship is shown as the older girl shows the younger sibling the glories of being part of something bigger than themselves.

At the end of the book can be found the music and the words set as a lullaby for children to sing. Teacher's notes are available.

Themes: Sleep, Togetherness, Night time, Companionship, Friendship, Support, Sisters.

Fran Knight