Charlie's Raven

Charlie's Raven

by Jean Craighead George
     
 

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So Charlie brings home Blue Sky, a baby raven with a big personality. Blue Sky imprints on Charlie and becomes a great friend and a source of amazement to the whole family. Granddad, an old naturalist, is intrigued, and he does seem to get better-at least for a while. But caring for a wild creature is very demanding, and as Blue Sky grows, Charlie must find a way

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Overview

So Charlie brings home Blue Sky, a baby raven with a big personality. Blue Sky imprints on Charlie and becomes a great friend and a source of amazement to the whole family. Granddad, an old naturalist, is intrigued, and he does seem to get better-at least for a while. But caring for a wild creature is very demanding, and as Blue Sky grows, Charlie must find a way to protect him from the many dangers-both natural and human-made-in the rugged Teton Mountains where they live. Weaving natural history, myth, and a family narrative about life and death, Jean Craighead George demonstrates once again why she is one of the most admired children's writers today. Blue Sky will take his place in readers' hearts beside Frightful of My Side of the Mountain as one of this author's most compelling animal characters.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A satisfying family story that will appeal to animal lovers everywhere."

—Booklist

Publishers Weekly
"The author weaves threads of Native American lore and scientific fact into a moving story set in the Grand Teton Mountains about a boy and a raven," PW said. Ages 9-up. (Mar.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
The mysterious ways of nature, particularly that of the raven, is the main theme of this beautiful story about a 13-year-old boy who will do anything to help his granddad get well after a heart attack. Charlie hears an old Teton Sioux story about a raven who cured a sick person. This inspires him to keep a baby raven, named Blue Sky, near his granddad, a retired naturalist, and test the tale for himself. Charlie and his granddad band the bird's leg and conduct a scientific study on his behavior to determine if ravens are good or bad, how ravens affect the environment, and the environment's effect on them. After spending months with Blue Sky and trying to be as objective as he can, Charlie only discovers that the way of the raven is much more complicated than "good" or "bad." As characters, the animals in this story are just as strong as the people, including the antagonists—neighbors Mr. and Mrs. Spinder, who believe that ravens are evil and should be gotten rid of at all costs. The settings are also described with just enough detail to allow the reader to feel an onlooker as this mysterious and beautiful story unfolds. Wonder, friendship, and the incredible ways of nature are just a taste of what readers will experience as they get to know Charlie's raven. 2004, Dutton Children's Books, Ages 13 to 16.
—Cherie Ilg Haas
School Library Journal
Gr 6-9-After his Teton Sioux Indian friend Singing Bird tells him that ravens can "cure people," Charlie, 13, is determined to get one. Blue Sky, his entertaining chick, endears himself to the family after he imprints on Charlie and, for a time, the teen's naturalist grandfather, who has suffered a heart attack, seems to improve as he leads his grandson through a raven research project. The author incorporates numerous fascinating bits of scientific information about raven behavior, including a vocalization glossary; the story is technically accurate and offers a vivid sense of place and a window into Native American beliefs through storytelling. Unfortunately, too many unusual incidents undermine the novel's credibility. For example, the raven saves Charlie's grandmother from a mountain lion attack, the bird speaks, and the ravens sense and react to a neighbor's fear and hatred of them. Line illustrations that often do not resemble these birds detract from an otherwise affecting adventure story. Readers will be moved by Charlie's relationship with both Blue Sky and his grandfather, and will close the book with a healthy respect for the natural world and an increased understanding of how to conduct nature research. Buy where George's books are in demand.-Ellen Fader, Multnomah County Library, Portland, OR Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
George delivers another inspiring story in which nature plays a profound role in the life of a child. Charlie's grandfather is recovering from a heart attack, but Singing Bird, his Teton Sioux friend, tells him that ravens can cure sick people. He wonders, as he has also heard, if the dark birds have evil, even supernatural, abilities. After capturing a baby raven, Charlie decides to observe him, officially to see the effect of the environment on humans, unofficially to see if Grandpa improves. When given a drum of the Kangi Yuha tribe, or Raven Owners, who had to know the mysteries of the Raven, Charlie is determined to become as knowledgeable. While recording the bird's good, bad, and mysterious habits, Charlie realizes that there aren't true dividing lines between good and bad in the natural world and discovers that his relationship to the bird is a symbiotic one. A remarkable intergenerational tale with the beautiful landscape of the Grand Teton Mountains as a backdrop. (raven glossary, author interview) (Fiction. 9-13)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780142405475
Publisher:
Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
03/02/2006
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
208
Sales rank:
588,306
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.80(h) x 0.70(d)
Lexile:
710L (what's this?)
Age Range:
10 - 12 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"A satisfying family story that will appeal to animal lovers everywhere."

—Booklist

Meet the Author

"I write for children. Children are still in love with the wonders of nature, and I am too. So I tell them stories about a boy and a falcon, a girl and an elegant wolf pack, about owls, weasels, foxes, prairie dogs, the alpine tundra, the tropical rain forest. And when the telling is done, I hope they will want to protect all the beautiful creatures and places."

Jean Craighead George was born in a family of naturalists. Her father, mother, brothers, aunts and uncles were students of nature. On weekends they camped in the woods near their Washington, D.C. home, climbed trees to study owls, gathered edible plants and made fish hooks from twigs. Her first pet was a turkey vulture. In third grade she began writing and never stopped. She has written over 100 books.

Her book, Julie of the Wolves won the prestigious Newbery Medal, the American Library Association's award for the most distinguished contribution to literature for children, l973. My Side of the Mountain, the story of a boy and a falcon surviving on a mountain together, was a 1960 Newbery Honor Book. She has also received 20 other awards.

Jean died peacefully in May 2012, but leaves a lasting legacy in the world of children's literature.

Learn more about Jean Craighead George and her books at www.jeancraigheadgeorge.com.

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