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Monday, January 7, 2019

Finn's Feather, written by Rachel Noble and illustrated by Zoey Abbott. Enchanted Lion Books, Publishers Group Canada. 2018. $23.99 ages 5 and up

"Finn  took the feather to
school to show his teacher.
"Hamish left me a feather!"
Mrs. Gilbert took a deep
breath and gave Finn a
great, big smile.

Finn was confused.

Why was he the only one
excited about his feather?"

One of the things I know from experience is that children look at death in a very different way than we do as adults. When their grandmother died our kids, who were 7 and 10 at the time,themselves responded from two entirely different perspectives. There are numerous stories for parents and teachers to share with children concerning death; many of them are very good.

This book tells the thoughtful and heartwarming story of a boy named Finn. One spring morning he finds a feather on the doorstop. He remarks on its beauty; it looks perfect to him, it's white, and he is quite amazed by it. In fact, he tells his mother that he thinks his brother Hamish, who has died, is responsible for leaving it. His mother's reaction is a tad disconcerting. Shouldn't she be more excited? His teacher has a similar response. 

Lucas, Finn's best friend, responds differently.

"A feather. I think my brother Hamish sent it."
"Really? Angels can do that?" asked Lucas.
"I think they can," said Finn."

When deciding what to do with the feather, Lucas suggests they should play with it. It tops a castle and tickles a chin before it blows away and is caught in a tree. Once retrieved, Finn holds it tightly to keep it safe. Happy on his walk home with his mother, he thanks Hamish for the gift. Using the feather as a pen, he writes a very special letter to his brother that he and his mother will leave in their tree to be carried away on the wind.

The lovely artwork perfectly complements the tone of the story told, while also showing the highs and lows that children experience as they come to grips with loss.  There is variety in the ways we grieve and remember loved ones; this book helps us understand that.

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