Friday, April 3, 2015

Counting Crows

Counting Crows
by Kathi Appelt; illus by Rob Dunlavey
40 pages; ages 3-7
Atheneum Books for Young People, 2015

theme: counting

opening lines:

One, two three 
        crows in a tree.
Three roly-poly bugs,
        three ripe mangoes.
Three for the counting crows.
       Three, by jango!

These crows  love peanuts and plums, crickets and crackers. They are bold and sassy, dressed all alike in red stripes - except for that one, over there, with the long scarf.

What I like: The sweaters. The long, long scarf that will surely get tangled up in a branch. The counting by threes - at least until we reach ten. Then it's adding one crow at a time, as if the extra crow will somehow unbalance them and cause them all to fall.

I like the way Appelt plays with words and images: twelve crows on a park bench wing by wing. And the disgusting things she has them eat: slimy snails. And the cat. Oh, that? Yeah, just a cat stretching and yawning and counting crow tails... and then all aflutter the crows take off.

I love the artwork: black-and-white with just red. And the juxtaposition of striped and dots. The silly ways the crows hang out, or gather on a line.

Beyond the Book activities: Crow talk. Do you have crows in your neighborhood? Go outside and listen for them. Crows have more than 20 calls, including a rattly call and beak-clacking. You can hear crow sounds here.

Crow smarts. Crows use sticks and spines to get food out of tough places. But here's a video of a crow bending a bit of wire into a hook to pull a bit of food out of a tube.

Crow play. Maybe you saw this video of a crow snowboarding down a roof. Here's the explanation for why some scientists think it might be playing.

Crow puppet. All you need is a paper bag, black paint, construction paper and your imagination. But here's something to get you started

Today is PPBF (perfect picture book Friday) in which bloggers share great picture books at Susanna Leonard Hill's site. She keeps an ever-growing list of Perfect Picture BooksReview copy from Blue Slip Media.


  1. This sounds and looks so appealing. I love the choice of crows, such a clever bird!

  2. Such clever rhyming in the story. Crow talk -- I love your activity and the video. Kids will think about crows differently when they see them.

  3. The crows, and this book, look darling. Definitely picking it up. Thanks so much!

  4. Looking forward to reading this one - love the color palette!

  5. Thanks for featuring this. I enjoy watching birds and crows are especially interesting. Always looking for ways to share the joys of nature with kids!