Corbie the crow is ostracized by his kind during his first year because he is white. He consoles himself by assisting a widowed starling who turns down his offer of marriage, and finds joy when a second summer brings his new, black feathers and a mate of his own species. In Mayne's capable hands, this unpretentious tale of the natural world is honed to simple elegance. Like Beatrix Potter's, his characters are true to their animal nature, although they speak in perfectly balanced prose. Visscher, an unusually precise observer, makes visual poetry of such subjects as Corbie inspecting a cheese rind, a pair of chimney pots or a worn tree limb. An unusually fine contribution to the young readers' shelf.