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“Never discourage anyone...who continually makes progress, no matter how slow.”
Summary: Curio is enjoying his fifth birthday. He has new toys, a new bed, and before long, a new friend. When Mr. Crow lands on the apartment railing, Curio isn't sure he likes this visitor. Before long, they are fast friends, learning about each other's lives; exploring likeness and difference. This chapter book offers readers a chance to engage in a crow-sheltie dialogue.
Type of Reading: family reading, independent reading, read aloud book
Recommended Age: read together: 4 to 9; read yourself: 9 to 12
Young Reader Reaction: Teen reader: A white plain paper with a common-looking dog on the front cover may seem dull and tedious, yet the fascinating adventure unfolds as we start reading. Even though the story is not fascinatingly interesting, it has meaningful messages. Mr. Crow frequently talks about how cruel humans are towards animals, including birds and dogs. Curio, of course, does not understand the reality, since he has the kind, animal loving master. Although the messages are not direct, Mr. Crow subtly gives a message that people’s attitude towards animals and nature is not positive. I would recommend this book to children ages 10 to 13. It has meaningful messages that people should recognize and learn.
5-year-old: The "for children of all ages" did not work in our house. Our child LOVES animal stories, including chapter books, but we rarely got past three pages before being asked to try another book.
Adult Reader Reaction: The story is stilted and predictable. The author doesn't make it clear whether or not this is a fantasy where the animals actually talk, or whether they are using their separate languages (barking, cawing) and she is translating the events. Ditto the communication between Susan and Curio.
Pros: The book has potential for remedial or struggling readers. The sentences are short, as are the chapters.
Cons: There are no surprises to the plot. But there are people and ideas introduced without context.
Borrow or Buy: Skip it. There are some great books about friendship for children of all ages. Curio and Mr. Crow lack the personality to draw in readers or stay with them after the book is closed.