cover image Clever Crow

Clever Crow

Cynthia C. DeFelice. Atheneum Books, $16 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-689-80671-1

A pestering crow meets his match in this sprightly takeoff on Aesop's fable ""The Fox and the Grapes."" Outside Emma Wetherby's house, a black crow fond of shiny things ""watches from his hidden limb,/ Laughs 'cause folks can't fly like him./ `Haw! Haw! Haw!' "" When Emma's mom leaves her car keys on the porch, Crow swoops down and nabs them, laughing all the while. Then Emma reasons, ""Crow is smart, but I am smarter--/ Gonna teach that bird to barter./ `How? How? How?' "" Emma finds the answer in her box of treasures--an alluring, shiny gum-wrapper ball which she offers to Crow. He drops the keys, but while Emma and her mom drive away triumphantly, the crow flies through an open window and snatches a prize from Emma's dresser, her mirror. DeFelice's (The Dancing Skeleton) rhyming verse crackles with a jaunty tone well matched by Schindler's (Don't Fidget a Feather) colored-pencil-on-parchment illustrations. The alternating perspectives in these scenes deftly move from Crow's aerial view, to Emma's or her mom's earthbound vantage points, accentuating the actions and counteractions in this game of wits. Ages 3-7. (May)