Kirkus Reviews QR Code
AS THE CROW FLIES by Sheila Keenan


by Sheila Keenan & illustrated by Kevin Duggan

Age Range: 4 - 7

Pub Date: Sept. 18th, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-312-62156-8
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Rhyming couplets celebrate the abilities and ubiquity of crows and the noisy crowds of a city winter roost.

Observations of crows in Troy, N.Y., contributed to this story and pictures by a husband-and-wife team. In the first half of the narrative, Keenan describes individual crow behavior: stealing food from pigeons, dogs, and people; splatting on windshields; tracking dirt on clean laundry. In the second, she observes them in large winter groups: cavorting in the air and perching in large numbers. “We cause such / a mighty ruckus, / there’s no chance / you’ll overlook us.” The rhymes work, but the regular iambic beat may make this difficult to read aloud without sounding singsong. This is the first picture book for Duggan, an experienced nature painter. His realistic illustrations, which look like pastels and pencil, vary in size and perspective. Readers see crows close-up on the ground, in the air and, from above, flying high over the city across the double-page spread. Panels in series show a crow waiting for the green light to cross and peck at roadkill. In one particularly effective illustration, a close-up crow pokes his beak around a panel frame. “We’ve got our bird’s eye trained on you.”

A helpful addition to the nature shelf, especially for its uncommon focus on urban birds. (Picture book. 4-7)