Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Review - Hello, Crow!

Hello, Crow!
by Candace Savage
illustrated by Chelsea O'Byrne
Date: 2019
Publisher: Greystone Kids
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 32
Format: e-book
Source: library

Will Franny ever prove to her dad that crows and kids can be friends?

Franny has a new friend—a crow who brings her presents in its beak. Like a red button! And a silver heart! Franny’s dad doesn’t believe her. He says crows and kids can’t be friends. But Franny knows better. How will Franny prove her new playmate is real? And what will the crafty crow bring next?

Award-winning author Candace Savage, whose crow expertise is lauded in popular books such as Bird Brains, motivates families to be present when exploring parks, backyards, balconies, city streets, beaches, and skies.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

I've been following the exploits of Canuck the crow for a few years now. For those who don't know, Canuck is a wild crow in Vancouver who befriended a human named Shawn Bergman. There was even a short documentary made about their relationship a few years ago called Canuck and I. Sadly, Canuck disappeared near the end of last summer. Birdnapping was suspected, and much drama ensued. Since then, Canuck's followers have lost their daily fix of the mischievous corvid. I hoped that Hello, Crow! could help fill some of that void.

While the relationship Franny has with the crow is cute, I just can't get past the father character. He's awful! He's a bully. He calls his daughter names. He refuses to believe her, and the things he says to her tread very close to gaslighting. This is not how a parent should be acting. In fact, the book would've worked much better had Franny been trying to convince a skeptical friend that she'd made friends with a crow. The father's behaviour made him seem like he was around ten years old, anyway.

The illustrations are done in that "elementary-school chic" style (or whatever it's called when it looks like a child was hired to draw the pictures). They're colourful and sort of highlight what's going on in the text, but I can't say that I like this style. I don't think I ever will.

It's interesting that the author and illustrator are both Canadian, and the illustrator is actually from Vancouver... so she's probably heard of Canuck. I'm curious to know whether this story was inspired at all by Shawn and Canuck's story.

Premise: 3/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 3/5
Illustrations: 2/5
Originality: 2/5

Enjoyment: 2/5

Overall: 2.33 out of 5

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