Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A pestering crow meets his match in this sprightly takeoff on Aesop's fable "The Fox and the Grapes." Outside Emma Wetherby's house, a black crow fond of shiny things "watches from his hidden limb,/ Laughs 'cause folks can't fly like him./ `Haw! Haw! Haw!' " When Emma's mom leaves her car keys on the porch, Crow swoops down and nabs them, laughing all the while. Then Emma reasons, "Crow is smart, but I am smarter/ Gonna teach that bird to barter./ `How? How? How?' " Emma finds the answer in her box of treasuresan alluring, shiny gum-wrapper ball which she offers to Crow. He drops the keys, but while Emma and her mom drive away triumphantly, the crow flies through an open window and snatches a prize from Emma's dresser, her mirror. DeFelice's (The Dancing Skeleton) rhyming verse crackles with a jaunty tone well matched by Schindler's (Don't Fidget a Feather) colored-pencil-on-parchment illustrations. The alternating perspectives in these scenes deftly move from Crow's aerial view, to Emma's or her mom's earthbound vantage points, accentuating the actions and counteractions in this game of wits. Ages 3-7. (May)
Children's Literature - Children's Literature
This rhyming tale tells of a greedy, thieving bird only temporarily outwitted by a clever girl. Emma knows she hasn't "heard the last of crow" and his repeated "Haw! Haw! Haw!" The artist has chosen to illustrate with colored pencil on parchment paper in his sparse, realistic style. The focus is on the crow's personality and various antics. Only the details necessary to set these adventures are provided--tree limbs, open window, and stolen prizes. The large typefaces used for the verses are designed to play a visual counterpart to the pictures.
Children's Literature - Karen Leggett
" Clever crow loves shiny things." On that premise, Cynthia DeFelice has built a story in rhyme about the crow's search for "nickels, quarters, diamond rings," and a young girl's efforts to outsmart him. S. D. Schindler's colored pencil illustrations are full of soft colors and whimsy-tree branches decorated with bottle caps and jewelry, paper clips dangling from twigs, Mother's keys dancing from crow's beak. Can't you just see that glint in his eye? "Haw! Haw! Haw!" But Emma does crow one better when she offers him a ball "Made of silver wrappers from Thirty zillion sticks of gum." He unwittingly drops the keys in favor of the shiny ball, but then flies off to retrieve a mirror from Emma's room, and "When he gazes at his prize, Sees handsome bird who's just his size." Cynthia DeFelice has written her story "For Bird, of course," leading readers to presume that the idea came from a real feathered collector. It also suggests to youngsters writing their own stories that even creating the dedication can be fun.
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
K-Gr 3When Clever Crow steals Mama's car keys, it's up to Emma to out-trick the trickster. This simple plot (whose denouement suggests a sequel) is told in rhythmic verse with a "Haw! Haw! Haw!" refrain. The text is pleasingly catchy with perfect rhyme (and even works as rap, which some readers will be bound to try); but the story often seems sacrificed to the rhythm. Tension is lost in the unflagging meter, and articles and initial pronouns are often (but not systematically) left out if they don't fit the beat. While the color-pencil drawings exhibit excellent perspective and layout, their subjects are a bit stiff. Yet, Crow's postures and the beat of the text have an undeniable "oh so clever" energy that a strong reader might carry off aloud. Perhaps not a first purchase, this book will still find its fans.Nina Lindsay, Vista School, Albany, CA
From DeFelice (Willy's Silly Grandma, 1997, etc.), a rollicking, rhyming read-aloud with a clever little girl and the crow of the title. Crow loves shiny things, and steals Emma's mother's keys right off the front porch. Emma, not to be outdone, lures the bird with a silver ball, "made of silver wrappers from/Thirty zillion sticks of gum." While Emma gets the keys back, Crow has the last laugh; as Emma and her mother drive off, the bird flies in through an open window to steal a pocket mirror. The colored- pencil on parchment paper illustrations are appealingly contemporary: Emma has pierced ears, jeans, sneakers, and her hair is in a scrunchy. Schindler provides nice symmetry between Crow's shiny treasures and Emma's under-the-bed box. (Picture book. 3-8)