Friends of a Feather: One of Life's Little Fables


Meet Slipper, Feathers, and Hog. Three of the rarest birds ever known to humankind.

Now people say birds of a feather tend to flock together, but not on the Beach by the Rock. That's where these three unique friends meet for the first time, performing risky feats for one another and then later for the hundreds of folks who gather to watch.

But when the stunts of the most gifted and eager-to-please bird are overshadowed by the sheer beauty of ...

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Meet Slipper, Feathers, and Hog. Three of the rarest birds ever known to humankind.

Now people say birds of a feather tend to flock together, but not on the Beach by the Rock. That's where these three unique friends meet for the first time, performing risky feats for one another and then later for the hundreds of folks who gather to watch.

But when the stunts of the most gifted and eager-to-please bird are overshadowed by the sheer beauty of his best friend, an attempt to borrow back the limelight nearly ends in disaster. Why do these birds stunt fly at all? What do they expect from the skies, one another, and the crowds below? And just what are the people on the beach looking for from them?

It takes a flight of imagination, the courage to be oneself, and the support of good friends to find out.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
Bill Cosby, author and comedian, teams up with illustrator Erika Cosby for a magical fable about friendship and staying true to yourself.

Three fanciful, stunt-performing birds -- Slipper, Feathers, and Hog -- are the starring attraction at Beach by the Rock. Because Feather looks "as if rainbow streams of light dance behind him" and has an amazing ability to catch fish, Slipper and Hog don't often get the spotlight with the crowds. Yet Hog "is the most daring" bird despite his unhandsome appearance. But when he tries to show off a bit too much, an injury leads to a serious discussion between him and Feathers about being friends instead of competitors: "'When we fly, we fly with each other. When we laugh, we laugh with each other. Those people don't know how to fly. They don't know our laugh.'"

With Erika Cosby's bold, multi-leveled illustrations to accompany him, Bill Cosby delivers a well-told, sensitive, and meaningful fable that will stick with readers. The author is a pro at speaking intelligently to young audiences without mincing words or getting preachy, giving kids -- along with teachers and parents looking for a springboard for discussions -- sage wisdom for reflecting on their own friendships. Matt Warner

Publishers Weekly
Despite its worthy messages and its author's track record as an entertainer, this volume is a disappointment. The tale describes a flock of birds whose stunt-flying attracts repeat audiences of humans. The narrator, Slippers, says he used to be "the bird. I mean The Bird." Then another bird, Feathers, gained the spotlight with his large wingspan and his extraordinary plumage. Five spreads with lengthy text describe Feather's beauty and his flying feats before Slippers introduces the main character, a plain-looking "dude" named Hog who takes huge risks in a fruitless pursuit of the crowd's adulation. The moral, to some extent obscured by the garrulous delivery, touts the importance of doing things for their own sake and not to impress others. The illustrator, Bill Cosby's daughter, renders props and characters in a straightforward, frontal style, and mounts them atop abstractly patterned backgrounds in the three-quarter-spread illustrations; the hand-lettered text floats atop crumpled colored-paper fields in the remaining quarter. The dissonant combination of elements and styles exacerbates the story's twisty development. With its copious digressions, folksy vocabulary and exaggerations, the text comes across as a transcription of oral storytelling; what might work in a live performance can seem coy on the page. Ages 4-up. (May) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Inspired by a visit to the Island of Guana, the author, a noted comedian, actor and educator, tells the story of Slipper, a seabird who ruled on a rock near the island. Although Slipper was something special, people came from miles around to see another bird, Feathers. Feathers was unusual because of his coloring and his size. Folks loved watching Feathers dive, and swoop and gather fish from the ocean. Another Pelican-like bird named Hog, liked to challenge Feathers in his daring feats, but the people just didn't seem to notice the plain-colored bird. Feathers warned Hog to be careful as he performed his daring acts to get peoples' attention. One day when Hog was flying daringly too close to the rock, the wind blew him into it. Hog injured his wing and had to be rescued by Feathers. Feathers tried to straighten Hog's wing but Hog was afraid. Feathers assures him that he cares about him and that he shouldn't perform just to entertain others. They promise to be good friends and look out for each other. Later, Hog tries some daring feats just to tease Feathers, but reassures that he has learned his lesson about showing off to impress others. The story seems a bit wordy and long for its intended audience and could have ended when Feathers and Hog agree to be friends forever. The watercolor and cutout illustrations, while colorful, seem stilted and lifeless in this story about birds in flight. 2003, HarperCollins,
— Meredith Kiger
Library Journal
A little bird learns some great flying stunts -- and how to overcome envy. Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060091477
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 5/6/2003
  • Edition description: 1ST
  • Pages: 64
  • Sales rank: 1,495,594
  • Product dimensions: 9.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.25 (d)

Meet the Author

Bill Cosby

At 66 Years Old, Bill Cosby is Hotter than Ever

With his new book I Am What I Ate…and I’m Frightened, an animated series based on his best-selling book Fatherhood to launch in January on Nick at Nite, a movie based on his character Fat Albert about to go into production, his Little Bill animated series airing daily on Nickelodeon and Saturday mornings on CBS, and “The Cosby Show” in syndication, Bill Cosby continues to be as prolific and relevant as ever, reaching every generation and every audience since he began his career in stand-up four decades ago.

He is one of the most influential performers of the second half of the 20th century. He has had an unparalleled career in television; has sold more record albums than any other comedian; his blockbuster books have sold millions of copies; and his generous support of numerous charities, particularly in the field of education, have endowed many Americans with the gift of hope and learning.

Through his groundbreaking appearances on television, particularly in two landmark series each of which defined an American decade, Bill Cosby has touched the lives of millions of Americans. In the 1960s, "I Spy" broke the racial barrier in television by featuring Cosby as the first-ever black lead of a weekly dramatic series. In the 1980s, Cosby returned to television with a show that Coretta Scott King described as "the most positive portrayal of black family life that has ever been broadcast." "The Cosby Show" enjoyed years of number-one ratings and nearly unanimous critical praise.

Cosby's success on television has been matched in other areas. In 1986 he broke Radio City Music Hall’s 53-year-old attendance record for his concert appearance. Cosby's also a giant in the publishing world. Fatherhood (1986) became one of the fastest-selling hardcover book of all time, remaining for more than half of its fifty-four weeks on The New York Times Best Seller List as Number 1. It has sold 2.6 million hardcover copies and 1.5 million paperbacks. Time Flies had the largest single first printing in publishing history—1.75 million. Now, I Am What I Ate…and I’m Frightened is poised for the bestseller list.

A crusader throughout his career for a better world, his great success in the world of entertainment is complemented by his involvement with a host of charity organizations, making substantial gifts in support of education, most notably to predominantly black colleges and to various social service and civil rights organizations.

On the evolution of his own style of comedy, Bill Cosby states that he was drawn at an early age to the masters of jazz, learning to emulate in comedy their ability to take an idea and continually find new and innovative ways of expressing the same theme. The legacy of Bill Cosby's comedic genius is as sweet, meaningful and universal as any piece of music ever played.

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