The Crows of Pearblossom

May 10, 2014 at 11:25 pm (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

Crows of Pearblossom

A Weekly Low Down on Kids Books

Title: The Crows of Pearblossom

Author: Aldous Huxley

Illustrator: Sophie Blackall

I first bought this picture book simply because I wanted to raise my child to be literary and it was written by ALdous Huxley. Naturally, a literary child should be raised on the works of Huxley, naturally.

The first time I read it to kiddo, I remember being a little creeped out. I’m not sure why. Maybe because I had mommy hormones and it took the mother crow at least 297 missing eggs before she got upset about her lost babies. Maybe because father crow didn’t swoop down and kill the rattlesnake right away. To be honest, I have no idea, but I do know my kid must have picked up on whatever I was feeling and furrowed her little brow.

Nevertheless, we read it all the time now. It makes its emergence in the spring and summer and gets tucked back into the shelf during the fall and winter unless we’re on a bird or snake kick. It’s not that the book itself is set in any particular season, the illustrations are just sort of sunny and Owl doesn’t wear shirts, so of course it must be somewhat warm out.

I adore Sophie Blackall.  I know I say this about a lot of authors and artists and people and things in general – but there just is no limit to how much a person can love and adore things.  That’s the marvelous thing about love and adoration, it is limitless and unending.

Obviously, her artwork is fantastic.  In addition to that, I think her ‘about the illustrator’ blurb in the dust jacket of the picture book is too adorable:

Sophie Blackall is the illustrator of Ruby’s Wish, the Ivy & Bean series, and many other picture books. Her father once arrived at a party as Aldous Huxley was leaving. They may or may not have crossed paths in the vestibule. She lives with her delightful children, an ambivalent cat, and several presumptuous squirrels in Brookly, New York.

Can someone please write something equally adorable for my author blurbs?  I never seem to know what to say for them.  Me – who writes endlessly and speaks just as often – has nothing to say.  Not in any concise and witty manner, anyway.

Back to Huxley, he apparently wrote The Crows of Pearblossom for his niece in 1944.  It wasn’t published until 1967 with Barbara Cooney as illustrator.

That edition looked like this and is now out of print:

original crows

Which means, if you see it laying around somewhere in a clearance rack or heap bin – snatch it up! It should not be cast aside.  It isn’t necessarily worth a whole lot, you can find copies on abebooks.com for $2 – $10, but out of print is out of print and you never know when you might be holding the last clean copy.  I like Sophie Blackall’s illustrations better, but the original work should be salvaged.

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Weekly Low Down on Kids Books – Baby Bear

January 23, 2013 at 2:21 am (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

baby-bear-480Title: Baby Bear, Baby Bear, What Do You See?

Author: Bill Martin, Jr.

Illustrator: Eric Carle

Publisher: Puffin

The Kiddo has definitely picked her favorite for the week, and Oh-My-Lands, if I never have to read this book again it would be too soon! It’s actually not that bad, I’ve just read this book about seven times a day for a week straight, and that’s at a minimum.  She’s at the age where she likes familiar, predictable, and oh so repetitive things.

She likes being able to tell me, “This Red Fox,” except fox sounds like something else entirely, something unprintable and disconcerting coming out of your two year old.  The x sound is not her forte.  She’ll get there, after all, she hears it enough.

Her favorite animal is the Striped Skunk.  I’m not sure if it’s the stark black and white contrast of the picture or the way the phrase sounds, but that’s definitely the page we go back to over and over again.

She likes to explain to me that the Mule Deer and the Striped Skunk are like Bambi and Flower.  That is important to her, knowing that I know that she recognizes that these are similar but not the same thing.

I like that book goes through one particular region.  When you open the book, the first thing you see, even before the title page, is that Carle has painted a forest.  It seems insignificant, but I think it’s a nice touch that sets the tone for the animals to come.  It says, “this is where you are going, the animals you discover live here…”  Then we start meeting them and it’s like taking a trip to Colorado without even leaving her bedroom.

One day, I’d like for us to build a Baby Bear diorama.  I think she would really like reciting the book while sliding a paper doll of baby bear past all his friends and on towards his mother.

Polar Bear, Panda Bear, and every other Bear book by Bill Martin are definitely on our To Buy list.  If you’re still on the fence, check out this other reviewer’s take on it: http://www.daddyfiles.com/baby-bear-baby-bear-what-do-you-see/

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