Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Crows

Crows: An Old Rhyme
Heidi Holder ~ Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1987


Hitting the late 80s here, but seeing as this book has been floating around for a while, and seeing that it's (technically) vintage, I thought I'd humor it with a write up. Though the lovers in the story-- a weasel and a mink-- do intimidate me slightly, you can't help give kudos to the drawing chops that produced these lavish animals.

The text is nothing more than a simple counting rhyme, so it's through the pictures that the bulk of the story unfolds.


Two is for mirth
Three is a wedding
Four is a birth
Five is for riches
Six is a thief
Seven is a journey
Eight is for grief
Nine is a secret
Ten is for sorrow
Eleven is for love

That's all there is to it, but the pictures portray a heroic exit, a heartfelt return, a wedding, the birth of a mess of babies, a chest full of treasure, a thieving raccoon, a sail across the seas, a death and a few more things I'm too shallow of mind to understand. Packed with enough symbolism and imagery to constitute a key and notes page, who knew that a white pigeon lading on your windowsill signifies a death in the family?

As you probably guessed, at our house we're in it for the crows, but if you're seeking a good mystery to unravel, here's a lovely place to start.

4 comments:

vigilceo said...

Wow, look at those illustrations!

FairiesNest said...

This is one of my all time favorite picture books...simply enchanting illustrations!

Anonymous said...

All my tattoos are based on this book.

Sarah Adair said...

Anyone remember a story about a young lion wanting a "tattoo" (body paint) by a snake to impress a lioness. He barters with other animals to pay the fee. I remember a crow trading him a "found" gold watch from a sunbather.

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