written by Paul Stillabower
illustrations by David Johnson
Book Guild Publishing 5/29/2014
Age 5 to 7 32 pages
“It’s bedtime and Crow is searching high and low for the perfect place to sleep. He finds a comfy looking perch . . . But a scowling owl sends him on his way! He sees a cosy pile of hay . . . But a trumpeting elephant won’t let him stay! Will poor old Crow ever find somewhere to rest his weary head?
“The night was icy and the sky was dark
When Crow flew high
over Regent Park.
His wings were tired and his legs were old,
So he looked for a place
to get out of the cold.”
Poor Crow, he was tired and cold. He flew the London sky looking for a comfortable and safe place to sleep. He tried a nice looking branch, but a mean owl threatened Crow as he told him to scat. That owl looks terrifying. I am surprised Crow even landed, yet he did land, and that grouchy old owl took a swing at Crow. Not a dumb bird, Crow left for safer accommodations. (Oddly, the next illustration has Crow back on a branch, from which he then flew off.)
Crow being a pretty smart bird, decided the London Zoo would be a safe place to find a spot to sleep. The London Zoo is nothing more than, according to Crow,
“A place for animals . . . a great, big farm!”
Zoos are fun and safe places, but maybe not for crows. Crow tried several warm, cozy spots, but each time another animal claimed the spot and Crow had to leave. In fact, two animals look like they might want Crow to stay, as long as he is their midnight snack. Ouch!
The bright illustrations give Crow bold coat of blue feathers and a nice light yellow beak. As the story progresses, Crow’s eyes close with sleepiness, until they are almost shut. At last, Crow is so tired his wings barely hold him up. It is easy to empathize with Crow. It should not be that hard to find a place to sleep. The characters all look a tad cartoonish, except for their eyes, which carry a great deal of emotion. The baby elephant, a cute little guy, shows expresses himself with his huge, bright smile. Crow left, thinking the little guy’s trumpet was a warning. The baby elephant looks like he wants to play with Crow, not get rid of him.
Written in rhyme, the story is an easy read. The rhythm is not completely smooth, with some lines having extra beats. My tongue tangled a couple of times trying to maintain the rhythm. Overall, Stillabower did a pretty good job writing the story in rhyming poetry. Poetry is very difficult to write correctly. It involves much more than simply finding words that rhyme.
The nicely produced hardback contains a great looking credit page. Many non-traditionally produced books forget this page, so it is nice to find one that has nearly all the needed information—for librarians (and fussy reviewers). The illustrator’s name is missing. Having both names on the cover is best, yet it is understandable why the author wants only their name after spending so much for the illustrations. Still, credit the illustrator else, it looks like the author was also the artist.
Crow finally sees an empty nest high up in a tree. I don’t think Crow should land. It could be another owl ready to show him the fictitious door with a reality swing of his wing. Crow is very tired at this point and lies down in that empty nest. His eyes are barely open. Will Crow sleep the night away, or be shooed away once more?
The Lonely Crow tells a nice bedtime tale. Crow becomes more tired as he travels from place to place. All he wants to do is sleep. The same message parents try to tell their children. “Sleep, please go to sleep.” By the time Crow does find a place to sleep, the listening child should be ready to close their eyes as well. Young children will like Crow’s story. He is a likable character. The illustrations do a great job enhancing the lovely story. The Lonely Crow may well help many young children find sweet dreams.
THE LONELY CROW. Text copyright © 2014 by Paul Stillabower. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by David Johnson. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Book Guild Publishing, Great Britain.
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Turns out The Lonely Crow is a popular title. Here are some others, all titled The Lonely Crow.