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Feathers and Hair, What Animals Wear

Illustrated by Jing Jing Tsong
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About The Book

Parents’ Choice Silver Honors Winner

From the award-winning author of Mama Built a Little Nest comes an oh-so-clever picture book that explores the feathers, fur, skin, or hair that different animals wear!

Some animals wear feathers.
Some animals wear hair.
Some animals wear prickly spines
and roam without a care!

At first glance, a wild animal’s appearance may seem simple. But there is fascinating science behind every part of an animal’s physique—from its nose to its toes! Celebrated author Jennifer Ward explores different kinds of fur, feathers, skin, and scales in this nonfiction picture book that’s truly like no other. From porcupines and polar bears to octopuses and owls, you’ll never see animal outerwear the same way again!

About The Author

Photograph by K. Volk

Jennifer Ward has written numerous award-winning picture books, including Just You and Me, illustrated by Alexander Vidal; How to Find a Bird, illustrated by Diana Sudyka; Round, illustrated by Lisa Congdon; and Mama Built a Little Nest and Mama Dug a Little Den, both illustrated by Steve Jenkins. A former elementary educator, Jennifer now travels the country as a public speaker visiting schools and literacy conferences. She lives with her family in Edwardsville, Illinois. Visit her at

About The Illustrator

Jing Jing Tsong is a mom, musician, and surfer whose grown-up job is drawing pictures. Her technique, which layers color and texture, is influenced by her experiences working in traditional stone lithography and monoprints. She is the illustrator of Seven Samosas and the New York Times bestselling A Bucket of Blessings, both written by Kabir and Surishtha Sehgal, First Morning Sun by Aimee Reed, and Feathers and Hair, What Animals Wear by Jennifer Ward, among others. Jing Jing and her husband live on an island in Washington state. Visit her at

Product Details

  • Publisher: Beach Lane Books (March 7, 2017)
  • Length: 48 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781481430814
  • Ages: 4 - 8

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Raves and Reviews

Sparse, rhyming text and lush collages impart elementary facts about different animals' body coverings. The colors, shapes, and textures of the artwork are a glorious complement to the simple, nicely scanning, just-barely-informational text. A set of speckled feathers stretching over the title pages is revealed to be the tail feathers of an awesome, pheasantlike bird spread over the next two pages. The text states, in bright, large letters against a green background, "Some animals wear feathers." A monkey leaps across the next pages, with the bold text: "Some animals wear hair." An aerial view of a porcupine's quills finishes the verse with "Some animals wear prickly spines / and roam without a care." The art invites gazing and revisiting—especially the four pages devoted to a chameleon of psychedelic coloration. The final verse and illustration of a giggling, brown-skinned child in the bathtub will delight most toddlers—who are still entranced by differences between humans and other animals....The endnotes name each animal in its order of appearance and supplement the primary text with scientific facts....The artwork is spectacular...

– Kirkus Reviews, 12/1/16

In spare, gentle rhyme, this vibrantly illustrated picture book introduces young readers to the very basics of animal form. “Some animals wear armor. / Some wear a traveling shell. / Some wear tough and pointy horns that serve them very well,” Ward writes as Tsong showcases an armadillo’s tough skin, a shelled tortoise and a hermit crab, and the horns of a rhino and antlers of a gazelle. Back matter includes a list of the animals in the order that they appear, with some details about each feature showcased in the text. The collage-style illustrations focus on particular aspects of each animal: a lion’s gaping yawn is front and center on one page, but it’s the mane (“Some animals wear wild hair”) that is its most defining feature. Back-to-back spreads on colorful animals—a camouflaging chameleon and octopus—are especially interesting. While not particularly science heavy, this is an eye-catching first look for budding scientists, and a final page on the only animal who “wears clothes from head to toes” will pique that interest even further. — Maggie Reagan

– Booklist, January 1, 2017

Awards and Honors

  • CBC/NSTA Outstanding Science Trade Book
  • Illinois Reads List
  • New York Public Library Best Books for Kids
  • Keystone to Reading Elementary Book Award Reading List (PA)
  • Topaz Nonfiction Reading List (TX)

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More books from this author: Jennifer Ward

More books from this illustrator: Jing Jing Tsong