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Posted March 2, 2011
fascinating fable of the triumph of good over evil
If you were a bird, and a snake that lives in the same tree where you do eats your eggs for a snack each day, what would you do? Mr. and Mrs. Crow have a nest in a cottonwood tree at Pearblossom. A rattlesnake lives in a hole at the bottom of the same tree. Most of the time he sleeps, but every afternoon at half past three, when Mrs. Crow is away doing her shopping, he climbs up the tree and eat her egg. She wonders what is happening, but one day, she returns home early and sees the snake. When Mr. Crow comes home that evening from Palmdale, where he works as an Assistant Manager in the drugstore, his wife tells him what has been going on.
Mrs. Crow wants her husband to go down immediately into the snake's hole and kill him. However, Mr. Crow doesn't think that this is a good idea. He isn't scared, but he probably knows how dangerous it would be. So he flies over to the tall poplar in Mr. Yost's garden where Old Man Owl lives and explains the situation. What kind of plan will Old Man Owl and Mr. Crow devise to solve the Crows' problem? And will it work? Aldous Huxley, who lived from 1894 to 1963, is best remembered for his dystopian novel Brave New World (1932). The Crows of Pearblossom is his only children's story. He wrote in 1944 and gave it to his niece, Olivia, as a Christmas present. After the Huxley's had moved to the Antelope Valley of California's Mojave Desert in 1937, Olivia's family followed and lived in the nearby town of Pearblossom. The original manuscript, returned to Huxley to be illustrated, was destroyed in a fire.
Fortunately, the Huxley's neighbors, Mr. and Mrs. Yost (who owned the tall poplar in which Old Man Owl lived), had kept a copy of the story. It was not published until 1967, when it came out in a small-format edition illustrated with black and white drawings by Barbara Cooney, but that version has long been out of print. Olivia desired to create a new, full-color edition to realize more fully the potential of her uncle's story. Stephanie Blackall's wonderfully detailed illustrations bring the witty animal characters to life. On one level the book is a charming story for children to read. Then on a deeper level, we see the negative example of Rattlesnake's greed, the positive example of Mr. Crow's discretion, and the general example of how good can triumph over evil. I am glad that it is once again available for young people today.
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Posted December 6, 2011
Clever Crows Show Unexpected Answers
The story is told on several levels so that age doesn't really matter for enjoyment. Older children and toddlers, as well as parents, babysitters and grandparents find something of interest and value in this Huxley tale. The illustrations are masterful in the colors used and the nuances of "body-language" of the characters.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.