PERFECT PURPLE FEATHER

Hanoch Piven, Author, Rachel Tzvia Back, Text by (Art/Photo Books), Janet Stein, Illustrator , trans. by Rachel Tzvia Back. Little, Brown/Tingley $15.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-316-76657-9

Fanciful animals made of found objects make newcomer Piven's photo-story, first published in Israel, a visual standout. Simple rhyming text describes what happens when Jacob, in bed for the night, discovers a purple feather poking up from the mattress. Immediately, a series of animals begins arguing over the attractive object. "I'm missing a wing—just look at me!" cries a bluebird made of scissors and a banana painted blue, "Please give me that feather you hold in your hand,/ So I can fly in a flash to a faraway land." In some portraits, the components take on clever meaning: a porcupine made of nails wants the feather in order to appear "soft and so sweet—/ I could charm anyone I happened to meet," an owl composed of computer parts claims the feather as a "fine pen for my ink." Other animals further the modest story line: a doggy needs the feather for a tail; on the next spread a tiger threatens, "That feather will make a fine toothpick to munch—/ After I've eaten that doggy for lunch." An elephant's sneeze (her trunk is inventively fashioned from a curving iron pipe, which straightens on the next spread as she ah-choos) sends the feather "[twirling] and [swirling] through the dark-blue night sky," high above the heads of a silhouetted Jacob and his supporting cast. An envelope on the final page holds a purple feather. These animal constructions will keep kids returning again and again, long after the purple feather has been carried away. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 07/29/2002
Release date: 09/01/2002
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