Jacqueline the Singing Crow by Mandi Kujawa and Claude St Aubin

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Jacqueline the Singing Crow by Mandi Kujawa and Claude St Aubin

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Buy Jacqueline the Singing Crow by Mandi Kujawa and Claude St Aubin at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: Emerging Readers
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: John Lloyd
Reviewed by John Lloyd
Summary: A fun graphic novel-styled picture book for the young reader, using an aggrieved crow as a model for self-awareness and happy self-expression.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 48 Date: July 2015
Publisher: Renegade Arts Entertainment Ltd
ISBN: 9780992150877

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Meet Jacqueline the crow. She's perfectly happy up in Canada, with a whole forest of trees to choose from, enough to eat, and a whole sky into which she can thrust her birdsong in celebration. She has, in fact, a lot to crow about. Until she hears humans talk of her as drably black, dumb, and ugly to both look at and to hear. What she chooses to do as a response is a surprise worth discovering in this large format picture book.

I'm surprised a book such as this from the wilds of a small press in Canada reached little old me in the UK, but that's pretty much the ethos of the story. A small book, sorry bird, can travel a long way to find itself and those that appreciate it, and can only benefit from a level of pride in how it expresses itself, how it takes no notice of criticism but just enjoys what it is and what it does. And when it's a bird, sorry book, such as this, it is pretty easy to enjoy what it does.

It seems to have started as a vocal piece for the author's musical shows, but even if the artwork is a later addition it doesn't suffer for it. They complement each other well, with the lively and quick script being picked up with the easy, colourful design, that knows just how much detail is needed and when and why, and gives you perfect simplicity elsewhere. With up to three images per page, the writing acting as captions on all sides – the page top, bottom and the margins, and speech bubbles, this comes across as an ideal 'first graphic novel', and while still being very much a picture book for the emerging reader, with only about thirty words a page, it's not just for gawping at. It's an engaging read with a fine moral, and while it might not be the perfectly prettiest book, nor the most subtle, it is well worth investigating. It, like all crows, seemingly, has a long way to go – and yes, a lot to crow about.

I must thank the publishers for my review copy.

You can meet a bright raven with places to go and friends to share them with in Mortimer and the Sword Excalibur by Joan Aiken and Quentin Blake for a similar audience.

Buy Jacqueline the Singing Crow by Mandi Kujawa and Claude St Aubin at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Jacqueline the Singing Crow by Mandi Kujawa and Claude St Aubin at Amazon.co.uk


Buy Jacqueline the Singing Crow by Mandi Kujawa and Claude St Aubin at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Jacqueline the Singing Crow by Mandi Kujawa and Claude St Aubin at Amazon.com.

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