Kirkus Reviews QR Code
THE FEATHERED CROWN by Marsha Hayles

THE FEATHERED CROWN

By Marsha Hayles (Author) , Bernadette Pons (Illustrator)

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2002
ISBN: 0-8050-6421-4
Publisher: Henry Holt

Flocks of mother birds from around the world join together on a maternal mission in this poetic Nativity story. The mother birds, presumably originating from North America since they fly over plains and snow and an ocean, somehow know that their help is needed, so they fly to the Middle East, adding more members to their flock during the journey. On their arrival, they build “a manger-throne, / a feathered-softened nest” and “a feathered crown / of humble down / soon warmed the new King’s head.” The final page shows a desert Nativity scene (with the stable in the background), the baby tucked into his customized nest with his unnamed mother and father nearby, and the birds and sheep still arriving to pay homage. During the entire journey, one cute little yellow bird (a baby stork?) clings to his mother’s back and legs, and in the final pages, this avian baby joins baby Jesus in the community-built nest. Pons (Mouse Cleaning, 2001, etc.) provides lovely watercolor illustrations of birds in flight and tender images of Mary and her baby, who both look Asian though Joseph does not. The theme of offering gifts to the Christ Child is a common one, but the idea of mothers joining together to help another mother and newborn is a fresh twist, gracefully expressed in Hayles’s (He Saves the Day, p. 258, etc.) rhyming text. (Picture book. 4-8)