Liba and the Feath­er Thief

Miri­am Walfish
  • Review
By – May 28, 2014

Liba, the daugh­ter of the own­er of a small hotel in Oudt­shoorn, South Africa, solves the mys­tery of the theft of valu­able ostrich feath­ers. The sto­ry is set at a time when phones are first in com­mon use, hors­es and cars are both on the road, and fin­ger­print­ing has just come into use as a tool for solv­ing crime. The hired detec­tive is bungling, self-impor­tant, annoy­ing and clueless.

Liba’s fam­i­ly is Jew­ish and obser­vant and their val­ues are evi­dent through­out the sto­ry. As Liba is on the trail of the thief, she dis­cov­ers that her father has a method for sep­a­rat­ing the paid guests from the unpaid ones, teach­ing her that in Judaism it is impor­tant not to embar­rass any­one who might not be able to pay. This plus oth­er exam­ples of mitzvot are impor­tant mes­sages deliv­ered to the reader.

The book is the third in a series. It is light, fun­ny, and just a touch scary and is enriched by a large and live­ly cast of char­ac­ters includ­ing Liba’s three younger broth­ers, their pet chameleon and sev­er­al quirky hotel guests.

Rec­om­mend­ed for 8 – 11.

Marge Kaplan is a retired Eng­lish as a Sec­ond Lan­guage teacher. She is a con­sul­tant for the children’s lit­er­a­ture group for the Roseville, MN school sys­tem and is a sto­ry­teller of Jew­ish tales.

Discussion Questions