cover image Feathers Together

Feathers Together

Caron Levis, illus. by Charles Santoso. Abrams, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4197-5458-6

The creators of Ida, Always center a fictional stork pair based on a devoted real-life avian duo. “Rain or shine, Klepetan and Malena explored every season together.” Klepetan is cautious, while Malena exuberantly “jumped into it all with wings wide open.” Preparing to undertake their long annual journey from Croatia to South Africa, Klepetan says, “Whatever the weather, we’ll weather it,” and the two vow, “Feathers together!” When Malena suffers a wing injury and can no longer fly, “a kind featherheaded man” constructs a ramp to the storks’ nest. But it soon becomes clear that she can’t migrate with Klepetan. How to bear the separation? Though they decide that “being apart will be a new part of our together,” Klepetan isn’t sure whether or how to enjoy life without her, and Malena feels anger about not being able to join him. But the two learn and change, and the whole village celebrates their annual reunion. Levis imbues Klepetan and Malena with believably conflicting emotions, while Santoso’s graceful, naturalistic illustrations give the stork pair readable facial expressions that convey hurt, loss, confusion, and resolve. It’s a moving, affirming story of commitment that withstands change. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Emily Mitchell, Wernick & Pratt. Illustrator’s agent: Justin Rucker, Shannon Assoc. (Oct.)