THE SCARECROW BOOK by James & Dale Ferguson Giblin


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Amusing, down-to-earth, and a little scary, scarecrows make a beguiling focus for an anthropological excursion covering at least three thousand years and most parts of the world. The Japanese burned old rags and bones to create deterrent smells, or strung colored streamers and shiny objects on ropes across their fields. Zuni scarecrows, called ""watchers of the corn sprouts,"" were ingeniously devised and especially spooky. Many cultures have employed boys as crow scarers; in 1700s New England they became crow shooters--but as often happens, controlling the crow population with guns just led to the proliferation of other pests. Some Pennsylvania Dutch farmers set aside special corn allotments for the crows; others hang up dead crows; one clever modern farmer plays tape recordings of terrified trapped crows; and a modern seed company sells inflatable vinyl scarecrows with bib overalls painted on. Giblin and Ferguson have assembled a fascinating store of scarecrow lore, its only flaw the seeming suggestion that chemical pesticides were rejected in the 1960s for more traditional scarecrows or modern versions thereof. The book is handsomely produced, well stocked with photos, and comes with directions for making a scarecrow for ""your garden.

Pub Date: Oct. 28th, 1981
Publisher: Crown