How to Be Comfortable in Your Own Feathers is a children's book by Julia Cook about accepting yourself for who you are, and about how you shouldn't try to change who you are with an unhealthy lifestyle.
It follows a small, blue bird of indeterminate age, gender, name, and species. All the birds in its class want to be able to fly the way a popular hummingbird does, but they can't, and so she condescendingly suggests they lose weight.
The bird decides to try and lose weight by eating less and going to the gym, but it's bad for the bird's health. Then, its mother tells it that it shouldn't change who it is and the bird gets training to help deal with its "food voice".
How to Be Comfortable in Your Own Feathers has examples of
- An Aesop: Don't try to be something you're not, especially if it involves trying to change your body.
- Alpha Bitch: Hummingbird gives off a stereotypical "queen bee" vibe because she's popular, everyone wants to be like her, and she snobbily tells her classmates they need to lose weight.
- Ambiguous Gender: It's never specified if the blue bird is a boy or a girl. Same with the bird doc and the "food voice counsellor".
- Bittersweet Ending: In the end, the bird has improved and is no longer eating and going to the gym unhealthily, but it's still insecure.
- Civilised Animal: The birds go to school and the gym, cook, and the "bird doc" wears clothes, but they also fly and do other bird things.
- Crying Critters: The protagonist's mother cries one tear upon finding the protagonist practising fluttering.
- A Dog Named "Dog": The protagonist's friends are named Sparrow and Chicken.
- The Ghost: The "food voice counsellor" is never seen.
- Good Parents: The mother is a loving, supportive parent who helps her (son? daughter?) to feel proud and self-assured.
- Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal: The "Bird Doc" wears a lab coat and no pants.
- Hold Your Hippogriffs: The title is a parody of the phrase "being comfortable in one's own skin".
- Labcoat of Science and Medicine: The "Bird Doc", a medical doctor, wears a lab coat.
- Missed Meal Aesop: A little bird wants to be able to flutter like a hummingbird due to being bullied by one who says everyone should be able to at school, and thinks the best way to do so is to lose weight, so it goes to the gym and skips meals. Its mother tells it that its species cannot flutter no matter what, and that skipping meals is unhealthy. This book has two Aesops: it's partially an allegory for eating disorders, but it also has a more generalised theme of "don't try to be something you're not".
- No Name Given: The bird, its mother, the "Bird Doc", and the "Food Voice Counsellor" are unnamed.
- Pun: A variation on the old "diet is 'die' with a 't'" joke occurs when Mrs. Bird tells Protagonist Bird to go on a "live-it" instead of a diet.
- Single Tear: The mother sheds "a tear" when she sees the protagonist practising fluttering.
- Title Drop: The bird's mother says, "You need to learn how to be comfortable in your own feathers."
- Unnamed Parent: The bluebird's mother is unnamed.
- Vague Age: The bird protagonist and its classmates go to school and live with their parents, and the protagonist is smaller than its mother, but they can all fly.
- Weight Woe: Even though the bird is more concerned with being able to flutter than looking bad or being unhealthy, it becomes concerned for its weight regardless.