Kirkus Reviews QR Code
AHMED AND THE FEATHER GIRL by Jane Ray

AHMED AND THE FEATHER GIRL

By Jane Ray (Author) , Jane Ray (Illustrator)

Age Range: 5 - 8

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 2010
ISBN: 978-1-84507-988-8
Publisher: Frances Lincoln

In an unknown country and time, an orphaned boy named Ahmed must work as a helper in mean Madame Saleem’s traveling circus. While gathering firewood in cold woods, he discovers a golden egg. From it hatches a feather girl, a wondrous, birdlike creature, who brings in many ticket buyers. Seeing Aurelia's unhappiness, he allows her to escape but is left with even more work heaped upon him by his cruel taskmaster. Every night she visits him in a dream and leaves him a feather, and many months later Aurelia finds a way to free him, too. The intensely colorful watercolor-and-collage illustrations portray a circus company and its attendees with a mixture of European, Middle Eastern and South Asian faces and clothing. The motif of the half-human/half-bird creature bears similarities to the Japanese story of “The Crane Wife” and other animal transformation tales. While not as vibrant a story as the Ray’s The Apple-Pip Princess (2008), this more delicate tale of love and freedom in the skies will appeal to readers seeking new happily-ever-after stories. Magically uplifting and appealing. (Picture book. 5-8)