An incomplete prophetic series about crows (magpies in the British originals) has been artfully repaired to stand as a ""twelve-crow superstition"": ""One is for bad news/ Two is for mirth/Three is a wedding/Four is a birth"" up to ""Twelve is for joy tomorrow."" Each line is illustrated with a sumptuous double spread in which finely detailed paintings are combined with elaborate architectural frames and borders incorporating dozens of traditional symbols (enumerated in an appended key). The brief text is expanded by a love stoW enacted in the illustrations, involving Millie (a mink), lavishly clothed in satin and lace suggesting the ancien rÃ‰gime, and debonair Willie (a weasel). The appropriate number of crows are beautifully and variously deployed escaping their frames on the opposite pages, with a medley of tiny beasts clothed as strolling players echoing the sentiments. Intricate, elaborately imagined and meticulously realized, this is an outstandingly beautiful book that rewards long perusal. It even has a sympathetic note about the true natures of weasels, minks, and crows.