Plume/A Feather by Cao Wenxuan, illustrated by Roger Mello


Rating: ★★★★★

Genre: Children’s Literature

Medium: Hardback

Synopsis: A feather just fell off of its bird’s down.  What bird was it originally from?  And how will it get back?

Review: My future Children’s Literature degree adviser told me that she adored this book, but had only ever read a PDF version of it, never having held a copy in her own hands.  I found this book in France before I even met her.  So finally, months later, I had some calm moments and the time to just sit back with a cup of tea, my French dictionary, and read.  My future adviser wasn’t wrong one bit.  This book is well-worth the praise she gave it.

Firstly, the book is longer than it is tall.  That’s what originally drew me to this book.  I’d never seen any sort of book this dimension, and that’s what initially made it fun and intriguing.

Then, the illustrations.  With the book being my second language, I only glossed over the words before I began looking at the pictures.  The colors are deep and rich, and the illustrations are incredibly delicate and stylized.  It felt like I was looking at a book meant for a museum.

Thirdly, the words themselves, the backbone of a story.  They were equal parts serious and light-hearted, and you find yourself yearning for the feather to find its origin.  The various birds introduced had their own distinct personalities, and that’s partially what made the book so entertaining–you never knew which bird was going to say what.

Overall, this book was simply enjoyable to read.  I’d recommend this to anybody who loved Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman in their childhood, or to anybody who just really likes birds.

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