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The Unkindness of Ravens

The Unkindness of Ravens

3.0 1
by J. Torres, Faith Erin Hicks (Illustrator)

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Rufus has returned to Grammy's for the weekend, and he's brought along the wooden Q'achi totem he uncovered on his last visit. After setting out to find his pal Penny in the woods and losing his way, Rufus once again turns to the totem for help. Unfortunately, Talon and Beak, a pair of greedy ravens, are watching from the trees as Rufus uses the powerful totem to


Rufus has returned to Grammy's for the weekend, and he's brought along the wooden Q'achi totem he uncovered on his last visit. After setting out to find his pal Penny in the woods and losing his way, Rufus once again turns to the totem for help. Unfortunately, Talon and Beak, a pair of greedy ravens, are watching from the trees as Rufus uses the powerful totem to transform into Bigfoot Boy. Imagining "the things we could do with that totem," Talon decides his flock of ravens must steal the totem. Though Rufus and Penny desperately try to thwart their plans, the ravens are tricky, deceitful and determined to do whatever it takes to get what they want. Will Rufus, Penny and their squirrel friend, Sidney, find themselves outsmarted by a bunch of birds?

This is the second book in the terrifically entertaining trilogy of graphic novels by award-winning author J. Torres. Here, the mystery surrounding the totem deepens as readers learn of its origins and Rufus's connection to its creator. The artwork by the renowned Faith Erin Hicks is rich with depictions of the Pacific Northwest landscape and its legends and mythology, which underlie and set the tone for the premise of the series. These books work well for teaching environmental awareness, as saving the woods from development becomes a central mission for Rufus and Penny. There are also important lessons to be gleaned on solving problems and on forming and maintaining friendships.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
... both Torres' storytelling and Hicks' artwork remain strong, and readers are handed enough action and suspense to keep them interested in finding out what happens when volume 3 is released.—Booklist

I would highly recommend The Unkindness of Ravens for school and public library collections. Readers will delight in a tale of magic, adventure, and friendship that will leave them wondering what looms ahead in Book 3. This is a great new early graphic novel series.—CM Magazine

Hicks' glossy, colorful, action-packed panels will keep pages turning.—Kirkus Reviews

Children's Literature - Toni Jourdan
Imagine being ten years old and visiting your grammy in the woods. It is your second visit, and you have been eagerly anticipating this trip. The last time you visited her, you found an old Q’achi Indian totem in the woods, a life-changing discovery that has allowed you to experience a physical transformation of the “biggest” kind. Rufus and his pet squirrel Sidney (who can actually talk to Rufus) love visiting the forest. They especially enjoy being around Penny (who wouldn’t mind finding her own totem) and her older sister Aurora. Both girls know about Rufus and that the totem has given him the power to transform into Bigfoot. If he says the magical word “Sasquatch,” voila! Rufus is Bigfoot Boy! Unfortunately, a couple of ravens witness this change and plot to steal away the wooden totem. Rufus questions his grammy about the ravens, and she tells him of an old counting rhyme that can help him find out what they are plotting. He also finds out about his grandfather and how he got the nickname “Aggie.” The ravens escalate their pursuit with a squirrel-napping that forces Rufus to summon his alter ego, take on the ravens, and make some important decisions for a ten year old boy. Book Two in the “Bigfoot Boy” series revisits the forest where the totem was found and provides a prologue synopsis about Angry Boy and Thunderbird and the carving of the totem. The story is both adventurous and simplistic, with colorful illustrations featuring rounded characters and warm colors. The story is a fun melding of Indian folklore, environmental issues, family, friends, and a squirrel as an animal spirit guide. Rufus is completely likable and the story has a fun, creative Sasquatch twist. A big thumbs up for Bigfoot Boy and his forest adventures. Reviewer: Toni Jourdan; Ages 7 to 10.
Kirkus Reviews
Can Rufus and Penny keep the totem safe from a tricky flock of ravens? Ten-year-old Rufus is overjoyed to be back at Grammy's, in the deep of the woods. He and his animal guide, a flying squirrel named Sidney, set off to find his friend Penny as soon as they arrive. When they can't find her, Rufus uses the totem he found on his last trip to transform into Bigfoot Boy, a tall, red, hairy sasquatch. With his heightened senses, he finds her easily, and she tells him she's looking for a totem of her own. Unknown to the friends, a flock of ravens has spied the totem and decided they want its power. The ravens trap Sidney to use as bait, but the friends don't fall for raven tricks, but how long can they keep the totem safe from the ravens? Canadian Torres starts off his second Bigfoot Boy adventure with a history of the totem and later ties it to Rufus's family, but this prologue and the villains (ravens rather than wolves) are the only features that distinguish this volume from the first. Hicks' glossy, colorful, action-packed panels will keep pages turning more than the near-repeat that is this tale. That said, fans will devour this and holler (with anticipation) at the wide-open end. Those unfamiliar with the series should definitely begin with Book 1. Feels a bit like filler, but still so much fun. (Graphic fantasy. 9-12)
School Library Journal
Gr 4–7—Rufus is on a weekend visit to his grandma's house in the country. His spirit animal, a squirrel named Sidney, is along for the ride. The story opens with a short recap of Into the Woods (Kids Can, 2012): in an attempt to stop the destruction of a forest, Rufus calls upon Thunderbird for the power to stop the giant trucks. Thunderbird tells Rufus to carve a totem, which he soon learns will turn him into a Sasquatch. Readers are occasionally directed to the first title, which is an effective technique to explain things to children unfamiliar with that book, but the story does not suffer if they miss those references. All is going well for Rufus and his friend Penny as they explore the woods, until ravens begin to appear in trees overhead. They are plotting to steal Rufus's totem, but they have the same goal as he does: to protect the forest. Though the ravens know they cannot take the totem by force, they are confident they can outwit Rufus, Penny, and Sidney. This leads to an adventurous battle over the totem. Hicks's illustrations are done in bold, black lines and rich colors and are sometimes reminiscent of Native Canadian art styles. The story's adventure, magic, and characters will appeal to many readers.—Liz Zylstra, County of Prince Edward Public Library, Picton, Ontario

Product Details

Kids Can Press, Limited
Publication date:
Bigfoot Boy Series
Product dimensions:
8.90(w) x 7.20(h) x 0.70(d)
GN340L (what's this?)
Age Range:
7 - 10 Years

Meet the Author

J. Torres is an award-winning writer whose other graphic novels include Alison Dare, Jinx, and Power Lunch. J. lives in Whitby, Ontario.

Faith Erin Hicks draws and writes comics in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Her works include The War at Ellesmere, Brain Camp, and Friends with Boys.

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The Unkindness of Ravens 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
SleepDreamWrite More than 1 year ago
Another good volume. Liking the series so far.