Reviews for Crow Call


Booklist Reviews 2009 October #2
*Starred Review* Drawing on a childhood memory, Lowry offers a story where the specific becomes universal. Lizzie's father is back from the war, and to her, he is almost a stranger. He doesn't even know how much she loves cherry pie. But he does understand when she picks out an unconventional adult-size hunting shirt, which at least she won't outgrow. One cold morning, Lizzie dons her shirt and goes out with Daddy to hunt crows. Crows eat crops; of that there's no doubt. Daddy has his shotgun. He's given Lizzie a crow call so she can gather the birds together in the trees. In a subtle dialogue, Lizzie says things without saying the big thing on her mind: "I wish the crows didn't eat the crops. . . . They might have babies to take care of." Not wanting to disappoint her father, Lizzie calls the birds until they fill the sky, and then, after a breathless moment, her father, not wanting to disappoint Lizzie, takes her home. Each frame of the story is captured like an old-time movie in Ibatoulline's tender watercolor and acrylic gouache artwork. Particularly effective is the double-page spread in which father and daughter walk among the leafless trees on that chilly autumn day, when their "words seemed etched and breakable on the brittle stillness." In the end, words aren't needed after all. Copyright 2009 Booklist Reviews.

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Kirkus Reviews 2009 September #2
It's a cold November morning, and Liz's father has just returned from the war. Shyly she sits "next to the stranger who is [her] father" practicing his name under her breath, "Daddy. Daddy." Together they drive to the Pennsylvania farmlands to hunt for the crows that destroy the crops, learning each other's idiosyncrasies along the way; in journeying to save the harvest, they begin to cultivate their relationship anew. Beautifully written, the piece reads much like a traditional short story. Lowry's narrative, dense with sensory details, is based on her own life's events. Fittingly, Ibatoulline's muted, earth-toned palette is reminiscent of vintage, faded photographs. At times, the characters in the photorealistic illustrations are floating in the uncanny valley, separated from their environment. But in other instances, the details of his renderings gracefully capture a moment in time that was lost. Relevant for families whose parents are returning from war, the text is also ripe for classroom discussion and for advanced readers. (Picture book. 7-10) Copyright Kirkus 2009 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2009 September #4

A parent returning as a stranger after WWII could be a difficult situation, but in Newbery Medalist Lowry's first picture book, drawn from her childhood, the reunion brings warmth and trust. Out on a fall hunting trip with her father, Lizzie is quiet with apprehension ("Daddy. Daddy. Saying it feels new"). Yet he respects her wishes, even when they're quirky. When she longs for a plaid hunting shirt many sizes too big, he endorses her choice: "You know, Lizzie... You will never ever outgrow this shirt." He orders three pieces of cherry pie (her favorite food) for breakfast. She's worried about the idea of hunting; he gives her the crow call--"I'm pretty sure you can handle it"--and the crows gather like magic. To her relief, her father never fires his gun. Ibatoulline (The Scarecrow's Dance) fittingly dedicates his artwork to Andrew Wyeth. The Pennsylvania countryside, in shades of gold and fawn, undulates behind Lizzie and her father, the quiet colors echoing the intimacy they share. It's a loving representation of a relationship between parent and child, and an elegy to a less ironic era, while fully relevant for today's military families. Ages 9-12. (Oct.)

[Page 64]. Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2009 October

K-Gr 4--Based on the reminiscence of a day in 1945, Lowry's nostalgic story has appeal that will resonate with 21st-century children. Lizzie's father has just returned from serving in World War II and she's a bit shy even though she's excited about spending the day with him. They are going to hunt crows that are eating the farmers' crops. The eight-year-old is warmly dressed in a man's plaid wool shirt that she had admired in a store window and her father bought for her even though it comes down to her knees. After an early diner breakfast of her favorite cherry pie, they head toward the woods. Being in charge of the crow call, a whistle intended to lure prey to the hunter, Lizzie is impressed with the number of birds she entices, yet feels uncomfortable because they are about to be killed. However, her father never raises his rifle; he simply enjoys watching his enthralled daughter and the multitude of birds that have heeded her call. Remarkable, atmospheric illustrations reveal the subdued, cool autumn colors of crunchy dried grass, softly hued sky, and dark leafless trees. The memory of a treasured day spent with a special person will resonate with readers everywhere.--Maryann H. Owen, Racine Public Library, WI

[Page 98]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

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