A feather drifts into the lives of two children and a village of dispirited adults in this allegory of hope in the face of darkness.
Maria and Nico are washing and hanging their laundry outside a small house when a large feather appears, floating down from a brown, sunless sky. “It reminds Maria of olden-day pictures of how the sky once looked,” and of rain and wind. The children carry the feather (“light as thistledown”) through the woods and to a village seen from above as a collection of broken buildings, abandoned vehicles, and empty streets. The villagers are equally entranced, remembering clouds and bright skies. But three older men, figures of authority—a doctor, a lawyer, the mayor—suggest locking away this valuable reminder of better times. When the feather takes on a leaden hue and weight, it is dismissed, along with the children. Maria and Nico’s optimism restores the feather to its lightness when they bring it back to their home, sleep cuddled next to it, and finally launch it back into the sky. Blackwood’s delicate scenes, gentle pencil lines, and subtle shades of gray and brown convey the sense of loss in the village and the subtle breaks in the dense cover of cloud that allow the feather to soar. Maria, Nico, and the rest of the villagers appear white.
A simple and deeply discussable message about hope and faith. (Picture book. 4-8)