cover image The Scarecrow

The Scarecrow

Beth Ferry, illus. by the Fan Brothers. HarperCollins, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-06-247576-3

“Scarecrow stands alone and scares/ the fox and deer,/ the mice and crows,” Ferry (Ten Rules of the Birthday Wish) begins in sturdy verse. “It’s all he does. It’s all he knows.” Drawn by the Fan Brothers (The Antlered Ship), the scarecrow’s burlap face and blank expression are startlingly realistic. One day, a nestling drops from the tree above him, and the scarecrow does something unexpected: “He snaps his pole,/ bends down low,/ saves the tiny baby crow.” He encircles it in its arms of straw and perches it on his breast; the lonely scarecrow needs a friend as much as the nestling needs him. Over the spring and summer, the two become inseparable—they’re shown in dramatic silhouette against a summer moon, fireflies blinking nearby. In the autumn, the crow flies away, and the Scarecrow’s sewn-on smile turns upside down—but spring brings his friend back, and new life arrives. Though the story’s arc is predictable, Ferry’s tale is a novel twist on the theme of love between adversaries, while the Fan Brothers’ finely worked art grounds the story in the movement of the seasons. Ages 4–8. [em]Author’s agent: Elena Giovinazzo, Pippin Properties. Illustrators’ agent: Kirsten Hall, Catbird Productions. (Sept.) [/em]