Lali’s Feather, by Farhana Zia/Illustrated by Stephanie Fizer Coleman, (Apr. 2020, Peachtree Publishing), $17.99, ISBN: 978-1-68263-129-4
Lali is a little girl enchanted by a feather she finds. She brings the feather to Rooster, Crow, and Peacock to ask if it belongs to them; they scoff. She shows the feather to Hen, Duck, and Blue Jay, who are all fascinated by what she can do with the feather: write in the dirt, fan a fire, sweep dust, make her sister sneeze and tickle Bapu’s toes! The birds are just as fascinated by the feather as Lali is, even chasing it down to return to Lali when it flies away. A gentle story about finding joy in the smallest things, Lali’s Feather, set in an Indian village, is a story that spreads happiness as you read it. Repetition helps readers predict what will happen next, as Lali goes from bird to bird to show off the feather; kids learn creativity and different ways of seeing as Lali shows off the feather’s many uses; there’s empathy in the way the birds all come together to find and return the feather to Lali. Digital pastel illustrations are soothing yet infused with discovery and play. Read an excerpt, download the Educator’s Guide, and read the author Q&A at publisher Peachtree’s website.
For a book-related take and make project, consider adding a feather to your kit and a colorful sheet of paper, inviting kids to think of what they could do with their feathers. I’ve also fallen for this TP roll peacock craft from The Madhouse Mummy (consider using a rolled piece of sturdy cardstock in place of TP these days). This paper feather and scissor practice craft is a fun idea, too; print out the feather templates on sturdy colored paper, and make sure that grownups will supervise the safety scissor practice.
Runaway Pumpkins, by Teresa Bateman/Illustrated by Stephanie Fizer Coleman, (Aug. 2020, Charlesbridge), $16.99, ISBN: 978-1580896818
A school trip to the pumpkin patch goes awry when all but one of the pumpkins fall through a loose hatch… but the townspeople and the kids are determined to look at the bright side in this sweet Fall story, originally released in 2018. The story, written in rhyming verse, captures the excitement of a class trip, including the bouncing bus and the excited kids. The illustrations capture the crisp Fall feeling, with orange, yellow, and occasionally, green trees and a darkening blue Fall sky. Kids imagine creating all sorts of jack-o-lanterns with their pumpkins in an amusing spread, with all sorts of pumpkin faces and the children dreaming them up. When the escaped pumpkins are discovered, the kids salvage the remaining pumpkin and focus their attention on it, while the townspeople who’ve discovered the broken, banged up pumpkins in their yards decide to show kindness to the children, and surprise them with a veritable pumpkin feast at the harvest fair. Kids look on in hungry astonishment at pumpkin soup, pie, even ice cream and barbecue, earning the cutest line in the book, “Our pumpkins are back, but they came in disguise!” A recipe for caramel frosted pumpkin cookies at the end lets readers and their grownups experience some of the fun.
A fun Fall readaloud for preschoolers and Kindergarteners, have plenty of pumpkin coloring sheets ready. There are some great ones on The Spruce Crafts and First Palette, and Education.com has some really great activities, including a dress-up pumpkin and paper bag Jack-o-Lantern.