Kindergarten-Grade 3. Pacific Northwest folklore is woven into a contemporary moral tale in this unusual title. Two brothers injure a raven. When it escapes, an impressively huge and angry man appears. He makes the boys take him to their home, where he tells them about a man who liked to hurt ravens and paid for it. In his tale, an injured bird starts to follow him everywhere, until finally the man himself turns into a raven. When he returns to his village to apologize to the people who are mourning his death, he can only call like a raven. Then he begins watching over his people and helping them. The boys understand the message. The man departs, "leaving behind him the thunder of wings." The final illustration makes it clear that the storyteller is himself that raven man of the tale. The first transition from the troublesome boys to the raven man's account is a bit awkward, and the instant reformation of the boys after hearing it is not particularly convincing. Overall, though, the weaving of one story within another works fairly well. The bold and dramatic illustrations lend real power to the story. Using simple shapes and vivid colors, the artist clearly conveys action and emotion. The style successfully captures both the magical element of the raven and the strong presence of the storyteller. The intriguing story and powerful artwork will attract young readers.?Steven Engelfried, West Linn Public Library, OR
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Van Camp's tale teaches respect for life, both human and animal. Toby and Chris are brothers--one light-skinned, with brown hair and blue eyes, the other with dark skin, brown eyes, and black hair--who are caught tormenting a raven. The man who confronts Toby and Chris is an imposing soul and tells them the story of a man who once also abused a raven. That raven started to follow the man, who is gradually transformed into a raven. He flies back to spy upon his old neighbors and discovers that the whole village has turned out for his funeral, demonstrating respect for his life even though he was wicked and without a kind word for anyone. The man/raven is transformed again, this time into a raven who looks out for his people in times of trouble. When the situation warrants it, he can become a man to remind others of the lessons he's learned. The storyteller takes his leave of the boys, in a flurry of feathers. The intentionally didactic text loses power in the juxtaposition of the contemporary framework and the storyteller's timeless words. If the ending is obvious, it will still have children considering the consequences of cruelty, and Littlechild's bold, stylized artwork will not only draw them in, but have them reaching for paints and paper. (Picture book. 6-9) -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.See all Product Description