cover image Birds and Their Feathers

Birds and Their Feathers

Britta Teckentrup. Prestel, $16.95 (86p) ISBN 978-3-7913-7335-5

In this quietly introspective volume featuring evocative, earth-toned prints, German author-illustrator Teckentrup (Tree: A Peek-Through Picture Book) explores bird life, behavior, and anatomy through the topic of feathers. Writing in lyrical vignette-like passages, she discusses the physical structure of feathers, how they develop, bird preening and molting, and human use of feathers, among other subjects. Teckentrup relays detailed facts while maintaining an air of wonder: “Birds have to create their own thrust to move themselves through the air, but they must also keep the air resistance created by their wings and body to a minimum.” Intriguingly, Teckentrup weaves in tangential references, including the story of Icarus and the falcon feather that astronaut David Scott left on the moon in 1971. Teckentrup’s opening description of feathers may be just as apt a description for her art and words: “They are delicate, complex, extravagant, beautiful and strong—all at the same time.” Ages 6–up. (May)