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Crow Call Hardcover – October 1, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Kindergarten-Grade 4—Based on the reminiscence of a day in 1945, Lowry's nostalgic story has appeal that will resonate with 21st-century children. Lizzie's father has just returned from serving in World War II and she's a bit shy even though she's excited about spending the day with him. They are going to hunt crows that are eating the farmers' crops. The eight-year-old is warmly dressed in a man's plaid wool shirt that she had admired in a store window and her father bought for her even though it comes down to her knees. After an early diner breakfast of her favorite cherry pie, they head toward the woods. Being in charge of the crow call, a whistle intended to lure prey to the hunter, Lizzie is impressed with the number of birds she entices, yet feels uncomfortable because they are about to be killed. However, her father never raises his rifle; he simply enjoys watching his enthralled daughter and the multitude of birds that have heeded her call. Remarkable, atmospheric illustrations reveal the subdued, cool autumn colors of crunchy dried grass, softly hued sky, and dark leafless trees. The memory of a treasured day spent with a special person will resonate with readers everywhere.—Maryann H. Owen, Racine Public Library, WI END

About the Author

Lois Lowry is the author of many acclaimed books for children. She is a two-time Newbery Award winner -- for NUMBER THE STARS, a book that is required reading in many classrooms, and THE GIVER, which remains one of the most talked-about and debated books in children's publishing history. THE GIVER is soon to be a major motion picture with Walden Media. She is also the author of GOSSAMER, CROW CALL, and THE WILLOUGHBYS, among many, many others. She lives in Massachusetts with her family.

Bagram Ibatoulline was born in Russia and educated at the Moscow State Academic Art Institute. He has illustrated many books for children, including THE ADVENTURES OF MARCO POLO by Russell Freedman, and CROW CALL by Lois Lowry. Bagram lives in Gouldsboro, Pennsylvania.


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 750L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Press; First Edition edition (October 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0545030358
  • ISBN-13: 978-0545030359
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 10.5 x 10.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #65,498 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Lois Lowry is known for her versatility and invention as a writer. She was born in Hawaii and grew up in New York, Pennsylvania, and Japan. After several years at Brown University, she turned to her family and to writing. She is the author of more than thirty books for young adults, including the popular Anastasia Krupnik series. She has received countless honors, among them the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award, the California Young Reader.s Medal, and the Mark Twain Award. She received Newbery Medals for two of her novels, NUMBER THE STARS and THE GIVER. Her first novel, A SUMMER TO DIE, was awarded the International Reading Association.s Children.s Book Award. Ms. Lowry now divides her time between Cambridge and an 1840s farmhouse in Maine. To learn more about Lois Lowry, see her website at

author interview

Q. When did you know you wanted to become a writer?

A. I cannot remember ever not wanting to be a writer.

Q. What inspired you to write The Giver?

A. Kids always ask what inspired me to write a particular book or how did I get an idea for a particular book, and often it's very easy to answer that because books like the Anastasia books come from a specific thing; some little event triggers an idea. But a book like The Giver is a much more complicated book, and therefore it comes from much more complicated places--and many of them are probably things that I don't even recognize myself anymore, if I ever did. So it's not an easy question to answer.

I will say that the whole concept of memory is one that interests me a great deal. I'm not sure why that is, but I've always been fascinated by the thought of what memory is and what it does and how it works and what we learn from it. And so I think probably that interest of my own and that particular subject was the origin, one of many, of The Giver.

Q. How did you decide what Jonas should take on his journey?

A. Why does Jonas take what he does on his journey? He doesn't have much time when he sets out. He originally plans to make the trip farther along in time, and he plans to prepare for it better. But then, because of circumstances, he has to set out in a very hasty fashion. So what he chooses is out of necessity. He takes food because he needs to survive. He takes the bicycle because he needs to hurry and the bike is faster than legs. And he takes the baby because he is going out to create a future. And babies always represent the future in the same way children represent the future to adults. And so Jonas takes the baby so the baby's life will be saved, but he takes the baby also in order to begin again with a new life.

Q. When you wrote the ending, were you afraid some readers would want more details or did you want to leave the ending open to individual interpretation?

A. Many kids want a more specific ending to The Giver. Some write, or ask me when they see me, to spell it out exactly. And I don't do that. And the reason is because The Giver is many things to many different people. People bring to it their own complicated beliefs and hopes and dreams and fears and all of that. So I don't want to put my own feelings into it, my own beliefs, and ruin that for people who create their own endings in their minds.

Q. Is it an optimistic ending? Does Jonas survive?

A. I will say that I find it an optimistic ending. How could it not be an optimistic ending, a happy ending, when that house is there with its lights on and music is playing? So I'm always kind of surprised and disappointed when some people tell me that they think the boy and the baby just die. I don't think they die. What form their new life takes is something I like people to figure out for themselves. And each person will give it a different ending. I think they're out there somewhere and I think that their life has changed and their life is happy, and I would like to think that's true for the people they left behind as well.

Q. In what way is your book Gathering Blue a companion to The Giver?

A. Gathering Blue postulates a world of the future, as The Giver does. I simply created a different kind of world, one that had regressed instead of leaping forward technologically as the world of The Giver has. It was fascinating to explore the savagery of such a world. I began to feel that maybe it coexisted with Jonas's world . . . and that therefore Jonas could be a part of it in a tangential way. So there is a reference to a boy with light eyes at the end of Gathering Blue. He can be Jonas or not, as you wish.

Amazon Author Rankbeta 

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#9 in Books > Teens
#9 in Books > Teens

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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Melanie B on February 10, 2010
Format: Hardcover
The story is powerful but understated, so that it's depths might be easy to miss if you aren't paying attention. It's told in the small details. Its power is in much of what goes unsaid and undone. So many moments had me on the point of tears.

This is the story of a father back from the war who has been gone so long he's become a stranger to his little girl. He doesn't know her favorite food is cherry pie, which he would if he'd been there... mama put candles on a pie for her last birthday. He's trying to reconnect so he takes her hunting with him, a special day for the two of them, inspired perhaps by her yearning for a hunting shirt she'd seen in a store window. But she is a little frightened by this stranger with a gun, a hunter, by the potential for violence she senses in him. In the most moving exchange she asks him if he's ever scared and he confesses that when he was away in the war he was; but now he is not afraid, he's the pillar of strength that his daughter can rely on. He understands her fears, however. And so, though he explains to her the necessity of killing the crows to protect the crops and addresses her concerns about the baby crows (long grown up and forgotten by their parents), he still refrains from shooting them that day.

The ending only seems anticlimactic if you've missed the undercurrents of emotion that make his restraint a remarkable gift to his daughter. The story shows how he's been desensitized from violence by the war and how she re-sensitizes him. It is deep and momentous, a shift from being a man of war to a man of peace. A poignant
moment in which the daughter becomes her father's teacher.

The book is full of warmth and humor.
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Format: Hardcover
The sun was just beginning to peek through the curtains in Lizzie's bedroom window. Her bed was rumpled with sleep, but it was a special day for her and she was up early. Her sister Jessica was still asleep as she and her father got ready to drive away in the car. He'd been away for so long he seemed like a stranger and she tentatively turned to him asking, "Daddy, I've never gone hunting before. What if I don't know what to do?" He decided that her job would be to use the crow call and told her that her special shirt would help. When her father bought her the shirt, her sister Jessica was disgusted, saying "that's a man's shirt." It was a beautiful rainbow plaid, something she would treasure and never outgrow. It was hers when Daddy saw that wondrous look on her face.

Lizzie and her father stopped off at the diner before heading off to their hunting expedition. She was a little less tentative now and because he had been gone off to war so long they had to get to know one another again. He asked her what her favorite thing to eat was and before you know it, there were two pieces of cherry pie before her. The waitress thought she was a boy because her braids were tucked in the special shirt, but her Daddy knew. Soon they were in the dusky forest walking a path between the leafless trees. It was almost time to use the crow call, but Lizzie was anxious to find out more about this long absent father. Would Lizzie rediscover the love in her heart she once had for this man she hesitated to call Daddy?

This is a beautifully told tale about a father and daughter, once separated by war, who needed to learn to love each other again. When I read the story the apprehension that Lizzie felt was almost palpable.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kirsten G. Cutler on December 10, 2009
Format: Hardcover
A sensitive and lyrical text, "even the occasional leaf that falls within our vision does so in silence, spiraling slowly down to blend in with the others" is beautifully interpreted in realistic watercolor and acryl-gouache illustrations. Based on Lois Lowry's own childhood experience, this exquisite picture book reveals how a young girl gets reacquainted with her father who has just returned from soldiering overseas during World War II. They take a walk in their small town, and visit the local diner that is wonderfully rendered to capture the feel of the forties in muted sepia colors. The father displays an exceptional understanding of his daughter's need to buy a man- sized flannel shirt she sees in a store window; a shirt that will surround her and keep her safe and warm on their forthcoming hunting trip. As they begin their walk through the countryside with the man carrying his gun, the young girl is not quite sure she trusts her daddy, the hunter. The child poignantly asks her father if he was ever scared during the war and he answers honestly yes; then she confesses to being a little scared and she does not even have to specify what she is afraid of. He teaches her to call the crows so he can shoot them, but pretty soon she is running around and laughing as they swarm around her. Her father also smiles and ends up not using his gun at all. By the end of the book, the young girl is holding hands with her daddy. The illustrator has a great skill in portraying people: the various individualized faces are distinct. One unusual illustration shows the little girl and her father traveling in the front seat of their vehicle: their faces stare dramatically at the reader out of the front windshield.
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