Fur and Feathers
By Janet Halfmann
Illustrated by Laurie Allen Klein
Ages 3-8, Picture Book: hardcover, softcover, e-book, audiobook, Spanish versions
Teachers' Choice Award
2010 Gold Moonbeam Award
Fur and Feathers is a story of creativity, friendship, and animal coverings. When Sophia dreams that howling winds whisk the fur and feathers off her animal friends, she shares her clothes with them. But her clothing doesn't work well for the animals. Seeing their disappointment, she find her grandma's huge sewing basket and offers to sew each animal the "right" coat. Animals line up to explain what they need and why. Polar Bear needs white fur to stay warn and hide in the snow. Fish needs scales, but with slime. Snake needs scales too, but dry ones. And how will Sophia make a pricky coat for Porcupine? Fur and Feathers is an imaginative, fun tale of animal coverings (and classification).
I decided to write Fur and Feathers after I noticed on Arbordale's website that the editor was looking for a story on animal "wraps." Right away that topic fascinated me. As I brainstormed possibilities, I came up with the idea of having a storm blow off all of the animals' coverings, and that worked perfectly. I decided it would be fun to dress the "naked" animals in kid clothes, which I did, but I thought the story needed something more.
Then I remembered the big sewing basket filled with odds and ends that I always kept handy for creating or fixing whatever while my kids were growing up. Sophia could find things in the basket and create new coats just right for the animals. As she made the new coats, Sophia just seemed to start adding her own special touches, such as the little red heart behind the polar bear's ear. That was one of my favorite parts of writing the story. I used each class of animals so the story would be not only fun, but as educational as possible.
"For Creative Minds" activity section at end of book
Illustrator Laurie Allen Klein's 8-part journey in creating the pictures:
"This is a incredible story! I LOVE it and know that it's found a home in my 'Animals, Animals Everywhere' theme . . . . I'm very much looking forward to sharing it with my preschoolers!"—Katie's Literature Lounge
"Fur and Feathers is a wonderful story of creativity, learning and the magic of animals. Any child who loves animals will thrill in this book . . . . I can't recommend Fur and Feathers enough."—Cafe of Dreams
"Fur and Feathers , , , , helps children believe in their dreams and imaginations, all while teaching children about the different animal coverings and why each animal needs to have their very own kind of covering."—Story Time Under the Stars
"Highly recommended as a read aloud for the younger set, and a read aloud science-based picture book through mid-elementary."—She's Too Fond of Books