Cheerio my dears, it’s Mad Martha with you today for a Lantern review for the littlies. Today’s title is a new release picture book from those cheerful, hard-working, astronomical-postage-cost-ignoring munchkins at Book Guild, and it features an avian friend who, it seems like many of us today, has fallen victim to the current shortage of affordable housing. I speak of The Lonely Crow by Paul Stillabower.
In this tome, an unnamed crow attempts to find a safe place to sleep on a chilly evening in England’s bustling capital. He canvasses a range of options including a seemingly empty perch in Regent’s Park, and takes the ill-advised route of trying to bunk in with various creatures at the zoo, before finding the perfect nest – and a friendly companion with whom to share it.
where you sleep
but where you feel
While the themes presented in The Lonely Crow have undoubtedly been done before in picture books, this tome is a comfortable addition to the canon. The tale is told in rhyme, so it is perfect for reading aloud before bed time, and the bright, cartoon illustrations should appeal to the 3 to 6 year old set. The illustrations do reflect the atmosphere of the crow’s long search and there are a few places in which the story takes a bit of a scary turn (for little kids anyway!) as some of the inhabitants of the places crow tries to land display less than friendly behaviour, but for me this added to the story and steered it away from being a flippant sort of read-aloud.
In that vein, the publicity guide notes that the book is intended for 5-7 year olds, and I think for kids of this age this would be a great book to open a discussion about animal and bird habitats in an urban environment. Certainly in my neck of the woods (puntastic!), there is much focus in the primary curriculum on the impact of human development on green space and the efforts being made by councils and concerned citizens to protect and increase areas in which animals and birds can safely live. The plight of old crow in this tome is a perfect and accessible launching point for getting kids thinking about where our furry and feathery friends might be sleeping while we are tucked up safely between four walls.
While it didn’t necessarily twig while I was reading it, given that I’m not a local of this locale, mini-fleshlings who hail from London will probably get a kick out of seeing the crow tour through some familiar landmarks before finding a place of safety. I imagine if I was Londonish mini-fleshling, I would quite enjoy looking into trees in my general vicinity to see I could spot crow and his friend in their nesty home.
The Lonely Crow was released in May and is available from Book Guild.
Ta-ra til we meet again,