THE COMPANY OF CROWS

A BOOK OF POEMS

Crows and more crows fill the pages of this collection of poems. As she indicates in an introductory poem, Singer (Boo Hoo, Boo-Boo, p. 579, etc.) attempts to present crows from every possible point of view, including that of the crows themselves. Some humans see the crow as a practical joker, a nuisance; some watch and comment upon their habits. A movie critic comments upon their use as symbols of fear, while an artist and poet see their beauty. Even pigs, dogs, and other birds express their opinion. The crows admire themselves and their talents. Although some of the poems work better than others, most of them read as prose, engaging neither the ear nor the heart. The format is a bit confusing. Each poem appears as part of a two-page spread, with the title sometimes far enough away from the text so it may be overlooked. Not that the titles, such as “The Father,” “The Boy,” and “The Youngster,” are interesting or even helpful, although they do give a clue as to the narrator. Some of the titles are repeated and can represent a human or animal voice. Saport’s (Before You Were Born, p. 893, etc.) vivid pastels, while richly colorful, are mundane depictions of the most basic action of the text. The author’s note at the end of the work is actually more engaging than everything that precedes it because it demonstrates a real love and understanding of the birds. An illustrated nonfiction account of crows and their habits might have been much more successful—see Pringle, above. (Poetry. 7-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 23, 2002

ISBN: 0-618-08340-5

Page Count: 46

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2002

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LIKE PICKLE JUICE ON A COOKIE

When Bibi, her first and favorite babysitter, moves away, it takes all of August for 8-year-old Eleanor to get beyond her sense of loss and get used to a new caretaker. Her parents grieve, too; her mother even takes some time off work. But, as is inevitable in a two-income family, eventually a new sitter appears. Natalie is sensible and understanding. They find new activities to do together, including setting up a lemonade stand outside Eleanor’s Brooklyn apartment building, waiting for Val, the mail carrier, and taking pictures of flowers with Natalie’s camera. Gradually Eleanor adjusts, September comes, her new teacher writes a welcoming letter, her best friend returns from summer vacation and third grade starts smoothly. Best of all, Val brings a loving letter from Bibi in Florida. While the story is relatively lengthy, each chapter is a self-contained episode, written simply and presented in short lines, accessible to those still struggling with the printed word. Cordell’s gray-scale line drawings reflect the action and help break up the text on almost every page. This first novel is a promising debut. Eleanor’s concerns, not only about her babysitter, but also about playmates, friends and a new school year will be familiar to readers, who will look forward to hearing more about her life. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-8109-8424-0

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2011

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The artist’s fans might key in, but most young readers will be left in the dark.

LITTLE.COM

When your computer powers down, the little “dot” is off-duty. You don’t think it just sits there, do you?

In this tipsy flight from Steadman, originally published overseas in 2000, the tidy dot on the first page is quickly transformed into mad splotches of black sporting googly eyes. It zooms through cyberspace to have tea—or, rather ink (“I LOVE INK!”)—with “my friend the Duchess of Amalfi,” and then goes off to spatter the besieging Duke of Bogshott and his white-uniformed army. Serving largely as an excuse for the illustrator to wield pen and brush ever more ferociously across a series of spreads, this free-associative plotline culminates with an invitation to attend the wedding of the duke and duchess as “Best Dot” (“I was so excited I made a mess on her carpet”) and a quick return home: “And here I am, ready to work for you again—dot dot dot.” As a clever riff on the internet, this doesn’t hold a pixel to Randi Zuckerberg and Joel Berger’s Dot. (2013) or Goodnight iPad by “Ann Droid” (2011), and the illustrator’s whacked-out mite isn’t going to take young readers on the sort of imagination-stretching artistic rides that Peter Reynolds’ The Dot (2003) or Hervé Tullet’s Press Here (2011) offer. But it does at least dispense exuberantly unrestrained permission to paint outside the lines.

The artist’s fans might key in, but most young readers will be left in the dark. (Picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-56792-520-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Godine

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

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