Saturday, January 15, 2011

Agatha's Feather Bed ~ Book Review

Agatha's Feather Bed: Not Just Another Wild Goose Story
Not just another Wild Goose Story
by Carmen Agra Deedy
ISBN: 978-1561450961
5+, $7.95 (Amazon)

Agatha loves her new feather bed, but when 6 shivering, naked geese pay her a visit to discuss the origin of the feathers, is her goose cooked?

Agatha owns a weaving shop in Manhattan and likes to answer the questions of children who want to know the source of her beautiful fabrics. She always recites a little verse to them:
Everything comes from something,

Nothing comes from nothing.
Just like paper comes from trees,
And glass comes from sand,
An answer comes from a question.
All you have to do is ask.

Perhaps Agatha forgets her own advice, for 1 night her pleasant sleep is disrupted by 6 cranky, cold, naked geese. They want to discuss the source of the feathers keeping her so warm in her brand new feather bed. In a delightful O. Henry-inspired ending, Agatha arrives at a solution that benefits them all, teaching readers to understand the delicate balance between our resources and responsibilities.

My Thoughts:
I loved Agatha's Feather Bed! The pictures are wonderful with lots of activity and things to see. The text draws you in and the use of Agatha's little verse is a great introduction into poetry for kids. 

So, what DOES happen when those 6 shivering, naked geese knock on her window during the night? Does Agatha give up her nice warm bed ~ or does she do something else to keep those geese warm?  

Agatha's Feather Bed is a good way for kid's to learn how we find the materials to make things - wood comes from trees, meat comes from cows, color comes from plants, and feathers come from.... do these things grow back? What can we do if they don't grow back on their own? There is a teacher's guide available online (click here) that will help families and teachers learn all about endangered animals, conservation, how animals keep warm and more.

Family Activities that you can do....
1) Go for a walk and look for signs that animals have been there ~ you can find feathers, snake skins, fur, footprints, etc. 
2) If you see animals talk about how they keep warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Birds have feathers, dogs pant to keep cool, horses coats get thicker, cats have fur.
3) Make matching cards for an “everything comes from something” memory game. The object of the game is to match each item with its source. For instance, match a sheep with wool or a cow with cheese and milk. (from the teacher's guide)
4) Look closer at the pictures on the sides and talk about where we get things from. Agatha uses a brush made from boar bristles and we get silk from silkworm cocoons. Can your kids think of other places we get things from? You may have to help them some to get ideas - where do we get milk from? Eggs? Water? If possible, see if you can find an actual silkworm cocoon and let your child examine it...

This is a wonderful book for kids 5+, it's not necessarily a beginning reader but most kids 5+ will love listening to the story and looking at the pictures in the borders and talking about where those items came from. This would be a great book to add to your families personal library ~ it's sure to become a favorite for years to come!