Clever Crow by Chris Butterworth and Olivia Lomenech Gill

I’m always excited when a parcel of Walker Books arrive for me to peruse and review ones that we love.

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Clever Crow

For February 2024 Clever Crow was one of my favourites that were sent. Clever Crow gives you a peep inside the fascinating world of more than 100 types of birds in the crow family. I was fascinated to learn that scientist believe that they may be the cleverest of all the birds and the book poses that some think that they may be on par with apes and monkeys in their intelligence.

Really Clever Crows

The thought that if a crow is watching you, it probably really watching you and having thoughts about you is equal parts entertaining and slight terrifying at the same time. What do they think about us humans!

Spreads near the end of the book talk of the playful nature of crows and gives the example of them frolicking in the snow. Our favourite fact in the book was ‘But crows are smart, clever, crafty and playful… just like you!’ It’s so good to be able to look at the similarities and differences between us and others.

Endpapers Dream

The endpapers are one of my favourite parts of the book and we poured over these spreads for ages. At the beginning you get a selection of eggs and the species of bird the egg is from. Then as you get to the end of the book you get the corresponding bird that came from the egg at the beginning of the book.

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Exploring Nature with Children

We follow a nature based curriculum called Exploring Nature with Children. There are several weeks during the year that cover the topic of birds. Clever Crow is the perfect book to use with this curriculum. You can find out a little more about one of the bird weeks here.

Clever Crow is written by Chris Butterworth who has been prolific in writing non-fiction books on a variety of topics. I loved finding out more about Chris in this bio section on the Walker website. Olivia Lomenech Gill is an artist and illustrator. Her spreads in Clever Crow are incredible. You can find out a little more about her on her blog here.

Nature Storybooks are something Walker Books do incredibly well. My daughter Floss loves anything arty and also loves nature. However, lots of nature, non-fiction book are too ‘real’ for her to enjoy on her own without me. She loves books that are stunningly illustrated, books that spark her to pick up her drawing/ painting materials and observe and create. Clever Crow is one of these books.

Illustrations

Walker Nature Storybooks are always wonderfully illustrated but contain a gentle balance of text to help bring nature alive and leave you with important facts.

From the spread above I would say that the physical copy is much easier to read. The text is much bolder in real life rather than in a digital image. However, there are pages in the book where I feel sight impaired readers may not have the contrast needed to read independently.

There’s almost a journal style to the book. It’s a lovely opening to the perfect harmony of nature and art coming together as they so often do. Many of us enjoy being able to observe and record in whatever creative way we choose.

The detail in the illustrations is beautiful. Something that my daughter and I particularly remarked upon was how well Olivia was able to bring the black of the bird to life. Often when we use black as a novice it can look very flat with little definition. Olivia has a magic touch when it comes to the use of hue to bring the birds in the book to life.

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