Monday, March 18, 2019

Song for Papa Crow

Many birders identify birds by their call and they use mnemonics to help them remember the calls. In Song for Papa Crow, Marit Menzin introduces the calls of about a dozen birds. Starting with the American Crow, readers learn that not all bird calls are melodious songs. The caw, caw of the crow is so irritating that it chases away the other birds. Although his papa loves his voice, the other birds don't like his singing. Wanting to help his son, Papa asks the Mockingbird to teach Crow to sing. Mockingbird can mimic the songs of other birds and is one of the only birds you will hear at night.

Little Crow wants to sing like the other birds, who make fun of his call and run away. But can Mockingbird's magic whistling seeds help? Well, in this story, the answer is yes, but Little Crow quickly learns that singing and trilling the songs of other birds also means he can't hear danger when Hawk comes calling. Worse, he can't call out to his father for help because he no longer sings his own recognizabel song. Okay, this is a kids book so all ends well when Little Crow spits out the whistling seeds and calls for a flock of crows to help him. And Little Crow learns to love his own song, even if he is singing out of tune.

Fun Facts at the end provide a little bit of information about each bird and the written vocalizations of the calls are accurate and will help young birders identify the calls. Collage illustrations are bright and colorful and clearly show important identification markings for the pictured birds.

While the onomatopoeic written sounds are accurate, readers may want to supplement their skills through some of the great on-line collections of bird songs.  Cornell's Lab of Ornithology has a nice collection, along with tips on learning to identify birds by calls and songs. Just click the link: .

FTC Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the author but receive no compensation for the review.