cover image Crow


Leo Timmers, Clavis (IPG, dist.), $16.95 (28p) ISBN 978-1-60537-071-2

Timmers (Who's Driving?) tells this be-yourself story with disciplined visual clarity. The action unfolds against a background of white on a black telephone wire that spans each spread. The blank backdrop focuses attention on the ungainly misfit Crow ("What's wrong with me?" he asks), perched on the left, and three much smaller birds perched on the right. ("He's pitch-black from top to toe," Finch says, inching away. "Must be a mean creature," adds Chickadee self-righteously.) Timmers paints Crow's mangy feathers and outsize beak with care, giving him a dignity that suggests a figure on a totem pole. Crow plots to paint himself to look like each of the smaller birds in turn so they'll like him, but he terrifies them instead; when tears of despair wash his paint away, the three small birds conclude that he's driven off those awful big birds: "You have scared them away with your burly black beak and your dark feathers!" Finch gushes. It's a story with a single punch line, but Timmers tells it with polish and style. Ages 3–5. (Oct.)