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Friday, March 6, 2015

The Cardinal and the Crow, by Michael Moniz. Simply Read Books, 2014. $18.95 ages 5 and up

"But they didn't.
They mocked and
teased him endlessly,
flying around him and
calling him names
all day long.
"Ugly old Crow,
ugly old Crow,"
they sang."

Taking a page from the teachings of Aesop, Michael Moniz has created a pleasing and witty story about Crow, whose life is made miserable by the constant 'chirping' of the many and varied birds who share his range. Their interminable teasing makes his life miserable. One bird in particular takes undue pleasure in persistent insults.

"Cardinal had brilliant red feathers and a beautiful
warbling voice. All the other birds followed his lead."

Crow becomes so tired of the constant, annoying chatter that he begins SQUAWKING every time another bird comes near. This assures peace and quiet, and no company to share his days. Once the other birds fly off to warmer climes, Crow and Cardinal are left to enjoy the chilly weather in close proximity.

Crow, showing age and experience, tries to warn Cardinal that danger many be lurking nearby.

"Be careful when
fluttering around that contraption. You never
know what might be hiding somewhere below."

The last bird that Cardinal is likely to regard as a mentor is Crow, of course. He pays no attention, and that is his first and biggest mistake. Luckily, Crow holds no grudges. It takes a bit of flattery and a whole lot of wisdom to ensure that his nemesis will live to see another day. Lucky Cardinal.
The story is effectively and quickly told. Cardinal and Crow are strong characters, and bold in their presence on the pages of this welcome book.  

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