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Fur and Feathers

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By Janet Halfmannfur and feathers
Illustrated by Laurie Allen Klein
Arbordale Publishing, August, 2010
ISBN: 978-1607180753 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 978-1607180869 (Paperback)
Also available as a Spanish/English ebook
Ages 4-9, fiction picture book

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2010 Moonbeam Children's Book Award: GOLD

2012 Teachers' Choice Award: Learning Magazine

The Story

When Sophia dreams that howling winds whisk the fur and feathers off her animal friends, she shares her clothes with them. But her clothing doesn't work well for the animals. Seeing their disappointment, she finds her grandma's huge sewing basket and offers to sew each animal the "right" coat. Animals line up to explain what they need and why. Polar Bear needs white fur to stay warm and hide in the snow. Fish needs scales, but with slime. Snake needs scales too, but dry ones. And how will Sophia make a prickly coat for Porcupine? Fur and Feathers is an imaginative, fun tale of animal coverings (and classification).

A "For Creative Minds" section at the back of the book features scientific classification, skin coverings, and animal classification.

Lots More Free Educational Resources

Go to Arbordale Publishing's website for 57 more pages of teaching activities for this book, Spanish and English audio, interactive reading and math quizzes, alignment to Common Core, state, and national standards, learning links, and more—all FREE!

The Story Behind the Story

I decided to write Fur and Feathers after I noticed on Sylvan Dell Publishing's website that the editor was looking for a story on animal "wraps." Right away that topic fascinated me. As I brainstormed possibilities, I came up with the idea of having a storm blow off all of the animals' coverings, and that worked perfectly. I decided it would be fun to dress the "naked" animals in kid clothes, which I did, but I thought the story needed something more.

Then I remembered the big sewing basket filled with odds and ends that I always kept handy for creating or fixing whatever while my kids were growing up. Sophia could find things in the basket and create new coats just right for the animals. As she made the new coats, Sophia just seemed to start adding her own special touches, such as the little red heart behind the polar bear's ear. In writing the story, I used each class of animals so the story would be not only fun, but as educational as possible.

The Trailer (at you tube)


  • "This is an incredible story! I LOVE it and know that it's found a home in my 'Animals, Animals, Everywhere' theme! There's much to be learned and the creativity Sophia displays towards creating the animals' new coats is incredible! I think children will love the adventure found within the pages of this story and I'm very much looking forward to sharing it with my preschoolers! —Katie's Literature Lounge
  • "Fur and Feathers is a wonderful story of creativity, learning and the magic of animals. Any child who loves animals will thrill in this book, as well as adults. I can't recommend Fur and Feathers enough."—Cafe of Dreams
  • "Of course, the first thing this book teaches is the art of being creative. The author and artist have taken the brick-a-brack found in the sewing boxes of all grandmothers and shown just what can be done with a bit of imagination and ingenuity. . . .Secondly, very sophisticated lessons are being taught as the fantasy is being played out. Those lessons include a very good look at animal classification." Good Books for Kids
  • "Janet captures the magic of animals in such detail that it brings them into a whole new light. . . .Sophia's creativity uncovers beautiful new ways to cover her friends and teaches a great lesson on sharing, giving and helping others."Youthful Tips & Annie's Book Blog
  • "'Fur and Feathers' is a creative picture book with a hands-on educational approach to the scientific classification of animals. . . .The story of 'Fur and Feathers' is perfectly enhanced by the gently comical painting and illustrations which are guaranteed to tickle kids' fancies." –Midwest Book Review
  • "Highly recommended as a read aloud for the younger set, and a read aloud science-based picture book through mid-elementary." —She's Too Fond of Books
  • "My little girl just loved this story. . . .this was a great book to teach her why the animals had different type of skin to keep them warm. . .and what a fun way for her to learn about it." —Chrissy's World of Books
  • "Fur and Feathers is a story that helps children believe in their dreams and imaginations, all while teaching children about the different animal coverings and why each animal needs to have their very own kind of covering. —Story Time Under the Stars
  • For more reviews, go to Arbordale Publishing.

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