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The Study of Poetry and Literature for Children & Young Adults

Module 3: Poetry Book Review

The Company of Crows: A Book of Poems
By Marilyn Singer
 
Singer, Marilyn. 2002. The Company of Crows: A Book of Poems. Ill. by Linda Saport. New York: Clarion Books. ISBN 0618083405

thecompanyofcrows.jpg

 

Marilyn Singer, author of more than 70 books for children and young adults was recently awarded the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award Honor Book 2005 for her book the Creature Carnival.

 

The Company of Crows: A Book of Poems contains 24 rhymed and free verse poetry all about crows. Each poem is featured on a double paged spread with full bleed pastel illustrations by artist Linda Saport (Subira Subira by Tololwa M. Mollel and All the Pretty Little Horses: A Lullaby.)

 

According to John Peters of Booklist, “Saport’s pictures here are reminiscent of Denise Fleming’s art. Her layered pastels create brightly colored, eye-filling outdoor scenes, with slightly indistinct but easily recognizable figures.”

 

The text is featured in 18.5 point Papyrus and varies between white and black letters depending on the shading of the background. As Papyrus is a thin delicate font, a beginning reader may find it challenging to make out the text on the vivid illustrations.

 

An introductory poem sets the stage for the various voices to speak of crows throughout the book.

Beak or mind,

Heart or wings,

Crow watchers all

see different things.

Nest or sky,

Flock or few,

Watching crows have

their own point of view.

 

Highlighted in each illustration is the person who is the narrator of that particular poem. For example, The Dog, The Boy, The Movie Critic, The Birdwatcher and The Poet each has a distinct voice with its own viewpoint of the crows.

 

The Farmer bargains with them, the dog doesn't like them, the painter admires their deep rich color and the movie critic finds them symbolic of evil and bad luck. My favorite character is the pig who finds the crows useful to scratch his itchy back.

 

The Pig

 

………..Yet when it comes to emplOYING

their cheeky beaks

No one’s better than

those back-scratching bug snatching

itch-pleasing twitch-easing

swindlers

whose visit I’m enjOYING

 

 

Recommended for grades 2-4 for independent reading, younger children will enjoy these poems read to them.

Works Cited
 
Singer, Marilyn. 2002. The Company of Crows: A Book of Poems. Ill. by Linda Saport. New York: Clarion Books. ISBN 0618083405
 

Kenton, Linda M. 2002. The Company of Crows: A Book of Poems. (book review). School Library Journal. November 1, 2002.

 

Peters, John. 2002. The Company of Crows: A Book of Poems. (book review). Booklist. November 15, 2002.

 

Website, available at http://www.marilynsinger.net/