Feathers and Fools

Mem Fox is an author from Australia who has made a name for herself as an amazing author of children’s literature. Her stories are all extremely different. Some are simple sleepy-time tales that are created to help children to fall asleep, while others are tales that are designed to help foster a love of reading in children of all ages. There are also a number of tales created by Fox that help children to understand certain truths about the world and about the human condition. These tales not only tell a story, they also teach a lesson.

The tale of Feathers and Fools is all about a pride of peacocks who have swans who live near them. They soon learn that the swans can not only fly, but that they can swim as well! They begin to wonder if the swans, who they discover are stronger as well, will start to try to fight against them. In order to protect themselves, they start getting weapons that they can use to defend themselves against the swans in case they do attack.

Meanwhile the swans realize that the peacocks are gathering weapons and they realize that they could be in danger if the peacocks use their weapons against them, so they start gathering their own weapons! One day a nervous mistake is made and suddenly the war that they all have been worrying about actually happens. As fox writes, “soon cries filled the air and blood darkened the earth”. After the battle, all of the birds are gone, save for two eggs. When the eggs hatch in Feathers and Fools, one is a peacock and the other is a swan. They look at each other and recognize that they’re both birds, and that they’re more alike than different, and wander off together to enjoy the world.

Unlike many of Fox’s childrens books, which are lighthearted, this tale is a bit darker and is only for older children. Feathers and Fools, however, is a great story for older children to help them to understand about war and how it can often be something that is started for foolish reasons.

Feathers and Fools


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