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The Magic Feather

Authored by Sandra Dieckmann
Illustrated by Sandra Dieckmann
Published by Hachette Children's Group

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The Magic Feather: Little Bear is the quiet and shy youngest member of the bear family, searching for his own identity and therefore his bear name, lacking confidence in everything he does. He compares himself unfavourably with his mother, brother and sister who are brave, witty and wise – all the things he thinks a bear should be and he is not. That changes in the middle of a stormy night when the Firebird delivers the gift of a special feather, which brings comfort and confidence to the young bear. Whilst he is holding it, he feels he can do anything, and he sallies forth to explore with new-found confidence. When he spots a hare in danger in the river, he does not hesitate to jump in and rescue her – and in the course of this loses his precious feather. Comforting words from his mother make him realise that he actually no longer needs it to be everything a bear should be. When he first held the feather, he felt a spark within him, and Spark becomes his bear name.

This is a story that will resonate particularly with children who feel the need to carry something special in order to feel confident and would make a good starting point for rich talk in Early Years classrooms. The illustrations are lavish, expressive and full of movement and emotion, and deserve particular attention in their own right.