THE CRY OF THE CROW
A babyish, off-base, tiresome story about a girl and her pet crow, which she must keep secret because her father and brothers shoot crows to protect their strawberry crop. Mandy names her baby crow Nina Terrance, learns the crows' warning cry to keep her safe, and to keep her dependent, continues to feed her after the crow would normally be feeding herself. Mandy's mother is in on her secret, and there is a period with the men off on a trip when Nina Terrance has the run of the house and the two humans have a flighty time feeding a group of crow visitors. In the same period the crow, who has learned to imitate human speech, gives a cute performance for TV cameras at the shopping mall. All this time Mandy is torn about allowing her pet to be lured off by the other crows: "I'm all mixed up," she tells her "Mommy" more than once. "I want her to go and yet I like her so much I want her to stay. It's so nice to have a friend." But when it turns out to be Mandy's little brother who killed the crow's parents at the start, Mandy knows that she must shoot her pet to protect her brother from Nina Terrance's vengeful attacks. In addition to the sentimental plot and corny dialogue, there is an unpleasant minor episode in which Mandy's mother teaches her two Puerto Rican employees to have separate bank accounts from their husbands as enlightened women do. The story is full of similar well-meaning misses.