Sunday 23 September 2012

Crow Call

"I sit shyly in the front seat of the car next to the stranger who is my father, my legs pulled up under the too-large wool shirt I am wearing.  I practice his name to myself, whispering it under my breath.  Daddy. Daddy.  Saying it feels new.  The war has lasted so long.  He has been gone so long.  Finally I look over at him timdly and speak aloud."  (Crow Call, Lois Lowry)

Crow Call is a picture book based on a little girl and her Daddy and how they get to know each other again on a hunting trip as he is a soldier just back from the battlefield.  The little girl, Liz, remembers shopping at Kronenberg's department store with her father where he purchased a large plaid shirt, the perfect article of clothing to wear on a hunting trip.  So, Liz dons the wool shirt and  the father and daughter set off on their trip.  Their first stop is the diner where Liz's dad orders not one but two slices of cherry pie for his daughter, her favourite food.  Then they drive further into the hills of Pennsylvania to hunt.  The scenes in the woods are solitary, as if the father and daughter are the only two people that exist at that moment. And the silence is only broken by the little girl's crow call, which invites a flock of the black birds to soar above the trees.  Once they fly overhead, Liz no longer wants them there for fear they will be shot.  She is relieved when her father slings his rifle over his shoulder and says it's time to go home, without having used it.  They walk back to the car, hand in hand. 

Bagram Ibatouilline's illustrations are warm and inviting.  The drawings imitate sepia-toned photographs.  One double spread shows the father and daughter together on the front seat of the 1940's era car driving through the countryside, capturing their bonding experience.  Crow Call is a beautiful story with gorgeous illustrations. 

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