Tan, the bird rescued by Deryn, donates a feather to lie across a polished lighthouse glass. Its orange glow pulsates through the night sky, warning ships of the dangers that lie around Deryn’s island. The oil to fuel the lighthouse is running low, and there seems to be something magical, other worldly, about the beautiful bird that Deryn holds close.

What’s more the bird arrived shortly after a shooting star flashed across the night sky as Deryn kept watch from the lighthouse station. She’s bearing her father’s role while he’s with her mother; her new brother or sister has arrived early and suddenly it’s all hands to the deck. Although Deryn’s parents suggest it will be for a night only, Deryn knows that things are not as they should be. Furthermore, her parents are depending on her to keep the island, the lighthouse, the home and the ships, safe and attended to.

Featherlight is an elegant, gentle, warm and empathetic dyslexia friendly novel. We are drawn into Deryn’s circumstances wholeheartedly. It feels as though we are collecting eggs, checking upon Gertrude, watching through the night, while feeling ever more laboured by the wait and the weight of responsibility. Bookwagon loves Featherlight.

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Peter Bunzl, illustrated by Anneli Bray

(Barrington Stoke)

Deryn’s father and mother leave her to tend the lighthouse when the new baby arrives early. Although it is supposed to be an absence of a night only, there are complications. Deryn is aware of the huge responsibility on her shoulders. Shipping that courses their island relies on the lighthouse. Furthermore she has chores to attend to. Therefore she’s delighted when she sees a shooting star blaze through the sky and determines to track the meteor’s destination. However what she finds is something different and unexpected, a bird unlike anything she’s ever seen before.
Thereafter, Deryn bonds with the bird, who gives her a new determination. What’s more she’s inspired by its Featherlight colourings and the suggestion that this creature might have some link to the stories shared by her grandmother. So how might it help her when oil for the lighthouse runs low, or when a fishing boat draws perilously close to the rocks? Is Tan, as she calls her new friend, some sort of guide sent to cheer and encourage her?
Featherlight is a beautiful, gentle, nurturing tale of lighthouses, times of immense pressure but then the suggestion of something wonderful and unknown. The writer of the acclaimed Cogheart series is a sure hand for drawing us into how a character feels and then reacts with his or her setting. Therefore we are deeply connected to Deryn and thereafter the news for which she waits. Thoughts of Grace Darling or How Does A Lighthouse Work? are uppermost in our minds as we read this tender, dyslexia friendly title.


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