Feathers for Phoebe by Rod Clement


Rod clement


Feathers for Phoebe is a gorgeously, bright and colourful picture book for children about learning to accept yourself, just the way you are.


Phoebe is a small, grey bird who longs to be noticed. Zelda is a large, colourful bird who has no trouble being noticed and who happens to run a very popular beauty salon, in the forest.

Phoebe asks Zelda for help and Zelda offers up amazing new crests, wings and tails. Still Phoebe is not noticed.

Zelda coaches her through finding her own song and dance moves to go with it. With all her new feathers she can barely move and flying is out of the question, but Phoebe practises and practises. Still, she is not noticed.

Suddenly, she slips and falls, tumbling through branches and crashing to the ground. The fall has stripped her of all her new, bright feathers and when she lands, on top of another small, grey bird, she is again herself, just a small, grey bird. But… she’s been noticed!


Why I love it:

The message of this story is lovely: be yourself and that will be enough. It’s a message we all need to be reminded of every once in a while and I think it’s a very important one for our children.

This message, however, is not the thing I love most about this book. I love the way the character of Zelda is written. You cannot read her words aloud without effecting some kind of Zsa Zsa Gabor-type voice and it’s just a lot of fun to read! Lines like: “Take your time, darling. Wings are everything, everything!” make this story a very enjoyable read and I guarantee you, your kids will love listening to you!

Themes to discuss with your child:

  • Self-confidence
  • Self-belief
  • Self-acceptance
  • Envy
  • Having the courage to be yourself
  • Friendship
  • Patience
  • There is someone (or lots of someones) for all of us

Questions to ask your child:

Before reading:
  • What do you think this book might be about?
  • Do you think this is a fiction book (a story) or a non-fiction book (facts)?
  • Is this a book you want to read? Why/why not?
  • What is one word you would use to describe the bird on the cover?
  • Do you think this bird is Phoebe? What makes you think this?
  • Of all the feathers pictured on the cover, which ones do you like the best? Why?
After reading:
  • Did you enjoy this story? Why/why not?
  • Do you think Phoebe was best with all the bright, colourful feathers, or with her own, grey feathers? Tell me why you think this.
  • Do you think Zelda was a good friend to Phoebe? Why do you think this?
  • If Phoebe had come to you for help, what would you have said or done?
  • Phoebe felt that no one ever noticed her and she wanted that to change; have you ever felt that way? Tell me about it.
  • Why was it so hard for Phoebe to have all the new feathers?
  • What do you think will happen with the little bird she meets at the end of the story? Then what happens?
  • What do you think is the message this story is trying to teach us?

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