Another Review at MyShelf.Com

Song for Papa Crow
Written and Illustrated by Marit Menzin

Schiffer Publishing, Ltd
July 28, 2012 / ISBN 978-0764341311
Children, Ages 4-8

Reviewed by Beth E. McKenzie

Several years ago a friend of mine told me about a book she read as a child about the language of crows and how she entertained herself by calling them. She can still make the ground disappear under their numbers with the call "food available" and fill the air in a flurry of wings and cries with the call for "hawk!" She still knows several bits of the complex language of crows and still hopes to find a copy of the book that so enriched her childhood.

Song for Papa Crow plays down the complexity of crow life by emphasizing another facet of intelligent beings- wanting to fit in. In this twist on Hans Christian Anderson's Ugly Duckling Little Crow wants to sing with the other birds but they think his "Caw Caw" is loud and coarse. They fly away when he comes to sing with them. Papa crow reassures Little Crow by saying that he knows just where to find Little Crow when he hears his sweet caw. They attend a Mockingbird show and the star gives the Little Crow a Magic Seed so he can sing like the other birds. Things go well for a while and then - well, Little Crow finds out that being a Crow and singing with his family of crows is the best thing in the world!

I loved the illustrations in this book. Each page is a collage of textured and decorated papers featuring trees and flowers as a backdrop for the birds of the story; in addition to crows there are chickadees, owls, blue jays and the cardinal, my personal favorite, is particularly expressive. The collages reinforce the story by giving the birds emotion. You can see the joy in Little Crow's heart when he closes his eyes and finally gets to sing with the other birds and you can see the panic when danger calls.

Song for Papa Crow is a sweet story with a relevant message for bird lovers of all ages. Nobody loves you like your family.

Reviewer's Note: The Ugly Duckling (Caldecott Honor Book)
Hans Christian Andersen (Author), Jerry Pinkney (Author)
Reviewed 2012