illus. by Isabelle Simler. 42p. Eerdmans. Aug. 2017. Tr $18. ISBN 9780802854926.
K-Gr 2—Plume is a cat with a penchant for soft feather pillows. Though readers don't know this until the very end of the book, they get a glimpse of the feline on every page—some little part lurking around or near a bird. But the menace of a predator and its prey is not what will capture children's attention in this title: it's the feathers. At once sturdy and delicate, they look completely different on birds than they do on their own. Simler shows both—a large, labeled illustration of a bird, common and uncommon, and on the facing page, exquisitely detailed drawings of one or more of its feathers. And Plume. First, he is just a shadow that readers might easily miss. Then there's the tail, the whiskers, the tips of his ears appearing on the page, creating tension and a little confusion—what should viewers be looking at? There's relief at the end, when Plume introduces himself and admits to his passion—feathers make a soft spot to dream. Simler's delightful digital drawings begin on the endpapers, making the book as much a beginner's guide to feathers as a story.
VERDICT Savor the stunning close-up drawings in this picture book one-on-one. For a nonfiction pairing, match with Melissa Stewart's Feathers, Not Just For Flying.

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