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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Little Monster Friends Part Two

January 30, 2013 at 9:57 pm (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Awhile back I did a Weekly Low Down on Kids Books that I titled Little Monster Friends.  It was about Eleanor Taylor’s picture book My Friend the Monster. Then the other night I was recommending one of my kiddo’s favorite books to a friend who has a little girl kiddo’s age and when I went to link to my review of it, I discovered there was none. Or, I just can’t find it. So it’s about time I tell you (or remind you) of my little toddler’s new favorite monster book. It’s one I’ve enjoyed reading to her for quite sometime, but has recently become the most exciting thing in the world to her… at least a few times a day when something else isn’t more exciting. You know two year olds – maybe.

So here’s to our newest little monster friends…

jumpyjackandgoogilyTitle: Jumpy Jack and Googily

Author: Meg Rosoff

Illustrator:  Sophie Blackall

Jumpy Jack is a delightfully nervous little snail who is terrified of pretty much everything, completely convinced there is a monster lurking around every corner.  Googily is his adorably huge friend who checks for monsters everywhere they go, just to be safe.  The catch? The terrifying monsters of Jumpy Jack’s imagination are always exact descriptions of his best friend and neither one of them know it.

This is a fantastic little picture book about imagination and friendship.  The illustrations are fantastic and the story and the images both give the kiddo and I the giggles before bed at night.

Now that kiddo is chattering up a storm all the time, intelligibly, she does the cutest things and it’s even clearer than before what things resonate with her.  Now she jumps around the house in the day time saying, “No monsters here,” and waggles her finger at me.  Sometimes she brings me a sock and waves it at me and mimics the last page “Boo! Said the sock!”

Click the front cover to hear a little girl named Sarah on youtube read the book, check out all the pages.  Then come back and click the title link to amazon.  Just like Sarah says herself, if you don’t already own the book you’re gonna wish you did.

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