Aug 13, 2011
Crow Call by Lois Lowry
Illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline
"I sit shyly in the front seat of the car next to the stranger who is my father." He's been gone for a long time, just coming back from the war. They are going hunting and Liz is nervous. Her father tells her she'll be in charge of the crow call. She's wearing an oversized shirt her father bought her while in town. It's a man's shirt, a rainbow plaid, not appropriate for a little girl but she had fallen in love with it and her father had bought it. On their way to hunt, they stop by a dinner where they share cherry pie. They reach the woods and as the walk together, father and daughter reconnect, talking about the war and joking around making different animal sounds. When it's time for Liz to use the crow call, she does a great job: "crows rise from all the trees [...] they fly from the hillside in circles, dipping and soaring, landing speculatively, lurching from the limbs in afterthought and then settling again with resolute and disgruntled shrieks." Her father sits on a rock, watching her and smiling. He comes down the hill, gun on his shoulder and Liz thinks about how gratefull she is that he didn't use it. "I feel that there is not need to say thank you -Daddy knows this already. The crows will always be there." She blows the crow call once more to say good-bye and then puts it on her pocket, "and reach over, out of my enormous cuff, and take my father's hand."
Crow Call is simply beautiful. This is Lois Lowry's first picture book ( she's a two-time Newbery winner for Number the Stars and The Giver) and it's wonderfully written with tons of heart. It's based on her personal experience, a hunting trip with father in 1945. This would be a great text to use in the classroom to write personal memoirs (and explore the moment activities).