Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Agatha's Feather Bed ~ Book Review

by Carmen Agra Deedy
ISBN: 978-1-56145-008-4
$7.95 (Amazon), Age 4-8

About the book:
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.

“This finely crafted collection abounds with information 
and whimsy. It also teems with puns and wordplay…A 
ducky book.” — Publishers Weekly

My Thoughts:
Agatha owns the kind of shop that I love. It's full of creativity, texture, depth and softness. One day she treats herself to an early night in her NEW feather bed - it's warm, soft, big and comfortable. When she is awakened by 6 freezing cold, naked geese she's reminded that the feathers in her new bed came from somewhere and she decides to make it up to the geese somehow. She sends them away and a few days later they return to Agatha to find out how she is going to help them.

The illustrations in this book are wonderful - they're detailed, busy, full of activity and you can easily do a 'seek and find' with your child. Each picture in the book has a border and 2 mini pictures that show a form of fuel or an item that we use from nature - you'll see things like "fossil fuels", syrup, dairy products, fragrances, glass, diamonds and more.

I strongly recommend Carmen Agra Deedy's books for any family, school or library - they'll be well read and loved by all!

Family Activity:
Set up a table in an out of the way place (not in the way but where everyone can stop and check it out). Encourage your kids to look for things - cocoon (to signify a silkworm cocoon which is where silk comes from), a small tree branch (where we get paper from), a flower (for fragrance), a wheat stalk (to make bread), a toy cow or pig (beef, dairy, pork) and so on. You'll find your kids sharing their findings and what they are learning with anyone that listens!

Note: you can also do this with habitats, work tools, etc.  Agatha's Feather Bed is a great opening to discussing animals, their habitats, how they keep warm, what they eat and how many babies they have. There is a Teacher's guide online that you'll find handy. It's perfect for teachers, homeschoolers, libraries, zoos and other places that work with children. Check out the teachers guide here..

You'll learn about endangered animals, where food comes from, where animals live along with math, science, art activities that use materials that you have at home (and some that you'll need to find, borrow or buy).

Carmen Agra Deedy is a well known storyteller who enjoys spinning tales for kids. A New York Times bestselling author she has been writing and traveling around the world telling stories for more than twenty years. Her books, including 14 Cows for America, The Library Dragon, The Yellow Star, and Martina the Beautiful Cockroach have received numerous awards and honors. Carmen has performed in many prestigious venues, but children are her favorite audience. Born in Havana, Cuba, she came to the United States as a refugee and like most immigrants sees the world from multiple perspectives. You can visit Carmen Agra Deedy’s website here.

Peachtree Publishers very generously offered a review of 3 of Carmen Agra Deedy's books. You can read the review of The Last Dance here and the review of The Cheshire Cat will go live on 1/19.

Click to enter giveaway

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