Cover image for Lali's feather
Lali's feather
First edition.
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 27 cm
"Lali finds a feather in the field. Is little feather lost? Lali sets out to find feather a home"--


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This endearing story of identification and values shows the rewards in looking closely and thinking imaginatively.
Lali finds a little feather in the field. Is it lost? Lali sets out to find feather a home, but one bird after another rejects it. The feather is too small for Rooster, too slow for Crow, and too plain for Peacock. Once Lali decides to keep the little feather and discovers all the things she can do with it, the other birds begin to recognize its value.
Farhana Zia's charming tale employs an inventive circular structure that reveals the importance of looking beyond first impressions. Illustrator Stephanie Fizer Coleman brings this delightful story of imagination and inspiration to life.

Reviews 4

School Library Journal Review

PreS-Gr 2--Lali is a little girl who finds a feather on a field, and goes off in search of its home. The story is set in a village in India which has many kinds of birds. Lali asks some of the birds if the feather belongs to them, but they all deny it and instead list the distinguishing features of their own feathers. Unable to find the owner, Lali decides to keep the feather and impresses the birds with her many possible uses for it. When a strong gust of wind blows Lali's feather away, the birds offer her their own feathers as a replacement, but she refuses. Soon, a crow finds her feather and they all play with it together for the rest of the day. The story highlights the significance of creativity, imaginative play, friendship, and empathy. Coleman's colorful illustrations are lively and detailed. Hindi words are mixed into the simple text. VERDICT This joyful book depicting empathy, friendship, and how to embrace rejection will attract kids from all backgrounds.--Noureen Qadir-Jafar, Syosset Library, NY

Publisher's Weekly Review

Zia (Child of Spring) dives right into this buoyant tale, which draws its energy from folktale-like storytelling and lots of chatter. Lali, an Indian girl with a long black braid, finds a feather and asks the neighborhood birds one by one if it's theirs. They answer scornfully: "Na, Lali, na!" the rooster responds, "My feather is a big feather. It makes me a lordly bird." All right, Lali thinks--if it doesn't belong to any of the birds, she'll play with it herself. The feather can write, she finds, and fan and sweep. "Oo ma," Duck cries, "I didn't know pokey feather could do that!" Exclamations make the exchanges even funnier. "Wah! It's a clever feather!" the birds agree, showing a new appreciation for it. A third sequence begins when wind sweeps the feather away and the good-hearted birds offer Lali substitutes, then help her search. Stylized spreads by Coleman (the Who Made My Lunch? series) portray the birds and the mango and tamarind trees of Lali's world energetically but without detracting from the story's forward momentum. It's all dialogue all the time--a prime candidate for reading aloud. Ages 4--8. Author's agent: Jennifer Unter, the Unter Agency. Illustrator's agent: Anne Moore Armstrong, the Bright Agency. (Apr.)

Kirkus Review

In Lali's hands, an ordinary feather becomes something fantastic.When Lali first finds a feather in a field, she asks all the birds she knows if it belongs to them. But Rooster, Crow, and Peacock don't claim it, so Lali takes it for herself. At first, birds such as Chicken, Duck, and Jay laugh at her feather, until Lali shows them all the magical things it can do: write a note, sweep the floor, tickle her father, and make her sister sneeze. A strong gust of wind swooshes Lali's feather away, leaving her devastated. By now, all the birds are eager to help. The book happily ends with Lali discovering another discarded objectone that promises a whole new set of adventures. Zia expertly code-switches between Indian language-inspired slang and standard English, rendering the narratorial voice pleasantly distinct. The illustrations continue this cultural mix: Brown-skinned Lali wears a bindi on her forehead, a traditional Indian blouse, gold bangles, and fluorescent orange shorts. The author's use of the rule of threesthree birds turn down Lali's feather, followed by three birds who discount her feather's usefulnessstrikes a beautifully balanced storyline that is predictable yet surprising. The pictures accompanying the text are full of color and motion, depicting a lush, rural landscape and perfectly supporting the quick-moving protagonist.Three cheers for this feisty girl of color and her big imagination. (Picture book. 3-6) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

One day, Lali finds a feather and sets off in search of its home. Holding the feather aloft, she seeks out the birds in the forest, asking the rooster, the crow, the peacock, and the hen if it belongs to them. They are scornful of the humble little feather, declaring their own far more useful or resplendent. Nonplussed, Lali determines to find a use for her feather. And she finds many: using it to write words in the sand, sweep a hut clean, and fan a fire. The birds are finally impressed, but the wind tugs Lali's feather out of her hands and high above the trees, taking it away from her. The musicality of the prose, dotted with Hindi expressions, lends a folkloric tone to this whimsical tale. The illustrations are lush and cheerful, countering the idea that the loss of the feather is to be mourned. A surprise ending will have readers predicting the sequel to this just-for-fun story.