Those Calculating Crows!

Overview

Here's a tale of mathematical mischief, inspired by a real-life experiment that proved crows really can count. The trouble begins when a flock of pesky crows feasts on Farmer Roy's new crop of corn sprouts. He and his clever wife, Dot, plot to scare them away for good with a little arithmetic problem, but their foolproof formula is foiled again and again. Who could have guessed that the crows could have figured it out? Full color.
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Overview

Here's a tale of mathematical mischief, inspired by a real-life experiment that proved crows really can count. The trouble begins when a flock of pesky crows feasts on Farmer Roy's new crop of corn sprouts. He and his clever wife, Dot, plot to scare them away for good with a little arithmetic problem, but their foolproof formula is foiled again and again. Who could have guessed that the crows could have figured it out? Full color.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Hale's (Juan Bobo and the Pig) witty gouaches are all but wasted on this faltering tale, allegedly based on an experiment proving that crows can count up to seven. This premise, explained only in a prefatory note, serves as a shaky foundation for a story about a farmer trying to outwit a flock of impertinent crows that are consuming his newly sprouted corn. The farmer, Roy, plans to chase the crows out of his fields and hide in a shed until they return, at which point he'll fire his gun into the air and scare away the brazen birds for good. Alas, the shrewd crew stays away until Roy returns home. He brings in more people, one by one, to wait with him in the shed, but the calculating crows realize each time that one more person has entered than left the shed... until the number reaches eight. Repetitious and often confusing, the text revolves around a grating cumulative rhyme ("Crows are not dumb, they count to ONE. It must be true, a few count to TWO...). Hale gamely supplies comic crow's-eye perspectives on the baffled humans as well as a handful of visual riffs depicting the birds learning math in a classroom and applying their number skills to playing poker and pool and trading on a crow-crowded stock exchange floor. Imaginative as these vignettes are, however, they add another distraction to an already circuitous story. Whatever subtraction lesson may be intended here ends up in the negative column. Ages 5-8. (Aug.)
Children's Literature - Meredith Kiger
This "unusual" counting book uses ongoing calculations to tell the story of a farmer and his battle to keep crows out of his cornfield. Roy and Dot add neighbors to try to reduce the number of crows eating their corn sprouts. The whole story is very confusing; and despite the repetitive format, it is difficult to keep the numbers straight.
Children's Literature - Susie Wilde
This is a rhythmic, cumulative amusing story that teaches subtraction. It all started when Farmer Roy planted a new crop and the crows decided to make a feast of the corn sprouts. The farmer and his wife try to come up with a solution but it turns out that the crows can count. A great read-aloud!.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-Wakefield bases this tale on "an experiment some hunters conducted many years ago," which seems to show that crows can count up to seven. A farmer is trying to get rid of a flock of crows that has been raiding his corn patch. His efforts to scare them off have all been foiled by the clever birds. On successive pages, a progression of people enter a shed, and all but one leave. The crows wait to return until the last person vacates the shed-until they lose count. The author tries to dress up this repetitive story (the same sequence of events for each new person added to the group) with a singsong counting refrain, but the whole idea is forced and pretty uninteresting. The bold, stylized illustrations are lively and colorful, but don't raise this selection above the prosaic.-JoAnn Rees, Sunnyvale Public Library, CA
Kirkus Reviews
A captivating counting book that relies on a riddle to keep children interested while they learn some math. Farmer Roy is determined to scare away the crows that are eating his sweet corn sprouts. With friends and family he embarks on a complicated game of musical chairs, trying to fool the crows into thinking that no one is watching the cornfield. Somehow the crows outsmart Roy, figuring out that he is hiding in the toolshed, ready to scare them away. Young readers have to figure out how the crows know Farmer Roy waiting for them, a puzzle that requires them to do some arithmetic. Based on an experiment that determined crows could count, this tale will have readers as baffled as Roy is, and just as satisfied when he sends off a few warning shots into the sky, scaring those calculating crows off for good.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780689804830
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
  • Publication date: 8/1/1996
  • Pages: 40
  • Age range: 4 - 7 Years
  • Lexile: 490L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.75 (w) x 11.27 (h) x 0.44 (d)

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