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on May 24, 2001
Since my earliest memories (app. ages 3 and 4) I have loved and treasured this book. Even before I could read, the animal characters within were well-beloved friends of mine, simply through the pictures. I was thrilled when my parents would read it to me, and when I learned to read myself I was proud to be able to get through it on my own. It was only much later, when I actually knew who Huxley was and realized he was the author of one of my favorite early childhood books, that I learned to love it for its historic context as well.
This book comes from an interesting background. Others have already commented on the time period Huxley wrote it in--during the second World War. It is his only children's book and he wrote it not for publication but for Olivia, the young daughter of his nextdoor neighbors (human characters who are actually referred to by name in the course of the book, further personalizing this effort of Huxley's.) There were only two copies, Huxley's and the one belonging to these neighbors. The first was destroyed in a fire that broke out in the Huxley home. The second was published following his death.
While I recognize the problem a previous reader had with this book, I must respectfully disagree. That "The Crows of Pearblossom" has a certain morbidity is in fact partly the point. Looking back on most successful children's stories, we see that they often have elements of the violent or morbid, since the first time the Big Bad Wolf ate Little Red Riding Hood and beyond. That children be acquainted by these means with some of the more unpleasant aspects of life is important. If they don't encounter them through a relatively harmless and provocative medium like a bed-time story, they can only become acquainted with them through other means, frequently personal experience, which can be infinitely more detrimental to the child than a story like Huxley's "Crows." Children need to be prepared to deal with life, and a story like this can provide a means for doing so.
All of this aside, "The Crows" also presents interesting and likeable animal characters, with the exception of the snake, (though as a child I actually rather got a kick out of him and the little song he sings) and is not without its humorous points. The idea of an owl shaving, for example, still makes me chuckle. The story itself teaches an important lesson about how not to accept an unacceptable situation, and how to use personal ingenuity and intelligence against brute strength, in an easily understood format. It also embraces a certain lighter-hearted, more fanciful spirit than readers of "Brave New World" may have known Huxley could posess.
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on January 7, 2002
This is my three year old daughter's favorite book. She doesn't know that it was supposedly written as a allegory to World War II. She just likes the characters in the story. My wife and I get a kick out of it because it is just like life. "Why don't you go down into the snake's hole and kill him" (That's my job!) But I reply, "Somehow I don't think that's a good idea," and so the story goes.
Jordan likes this book so I'm not going to write in a lot of psycho-babble. Maybe she sees a problem within a family that has to be solved. And it is! Maybe she sees a threat to a family that the parents must solve. And they do! Perhaps she just doesn't like snakes and feels he got what he deserves. If you have this book, it is a classic in the true sense of the word, to be treasured.
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on February 27, 2000
Quite apart from the dire, apocalyptic tone of Brave New World, Mr. and Mrs. Crow live in an idyllic world on the Mojave Desert of Southern California. Their domestic problem is an allegory for many of the problems we face in the adult world. I grew up in a small town just west of Pearblossom. When I was 8 or 9, a copy of the book was given to me by a close relative of Olivia's who still lived in Pearblossom. I will always thank Rose de Haulleville for giving me my first exposure to Huxley's writing. Of course it was many more years before I appreciated books like Brave New World or Antic Hay, however I have always remembered the crows in their nest in Pearblossom as my own form of non-pharmaceutical soma ;-)
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on December 10, 1998
Mr. and Mrs. Crow are having difficulty raising a family as their neighbor, the rattlesnake, keeps stealing every egg Mrs. Crow lays. How Mr. Crow and his friend, Mr. Owl, solve the problem will delight any child. The story, written by a classic author best known for his science fiction/political commentary, is reminiscent of a fable in the tradition of Aesop. It is simply and elegantly written for children in the 6 to 9 age group. It lends itself beautifully to reading aloud to a child.
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on October 29, 2013
This is a cute story, and fun to read. It's fun to do the voices for the characters and to see the little hilarities in the artwork, such as the snake's fangs in a glass of water on his nightstand, or his framed picture of snake Jesus, or Old Man Owl's pants pulled up to his armpits, the curlers in Mrs. Crow's hair, Mr. Crow telling screaming Amelia to hush from behind the safety of an alarmed-looking owl. My 21 month old loves this book. The voices and artwork hold her attention. I don't find the book sexist at all. The characters are stereotypes but that's what makes the book so funny.
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on May 6, 2016
I love Sophie Blackall's work. I was also intrigued by the title because I used to live near Pearblossom. I love this tale, and love Sophie's take on the desert I grew up in. This is so fun to share with my family.
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on October 2, 1999
i acquired this book as a child and my father read it to me and my brother over and over again. now my brother has a child and i have given this beautiful story book to him. this is the only childrens book aldous huxley ever wrote and he wrote it for a child, i believe her name was olivia, that he cared for very deeply, not having children of his own. it is a story of love, family and the trials and tribulations of life. how to conquer evil with good. i recieved this book through weelky reader as a child, too bad more children don't have that opportunity today.
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on November 26, 2012
We discovered this delightful story when the book was handed down to us by our children's uncle--his copy when he was a child. The story unfolds as Mrs. Crow is distraught that the eggs she's laid keep disappearing each afternoon. We learn why they disappear and hear the clever way the problem is solved.
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on December 14, 2014
Absolutely LOVE this book. Ordered it for my great grandson. My husband and I used to read this at bedtime for our granddaughter when she would spend the night. Now her son has a copy of this wonderful book.
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on June 7, 2010
Until recently I had no idea Huxley had authored a children's book. But when I stumbled onto a listing for it, I knew I had to have it. I found an old 70's Weekly Reader copy with the original Barbara Cooney illustrations, which are exquisite, memorable, and remind me in a nostalgic sort of way of the black and white illustrations of Garth Williams in the Tall Book of Make Believe, my all-time favorite children's book.

The story is a well-written, fun-to-read fable. In some reviews it's judged as being harsh and gruesome, and if you're the sort who is liable to find older (pre-70's) children's literature and the themes within to be disagreeable, this one will likely disturb. There are a lot of really 'safe' books out there, and this one - no - does not fall into that category.

The story is that of a crow couple, the wife of whom has been losing her newly laid eggs and one day stumbles onto the smug culprit in the act. She is devastated, and there is a little tiff between husband and wife when he arrives home that I, personally, found to be rather amusing. Mr. Crow resolves to fix this problem by consulting with his wiser friend and neighbor - the owl. And while I agree with another reviewer that there are sexist overtones to the story, the owl treats both Mr. and Mrs. Crow as hysterical, so it's not so neatly in that camp as I had feared having read that review previous to purchasing. In any case, the owl's plan to replace Mrs. Crow's eggs with hard-baked clay look-alikes works marvelously, and when Mrs. Crow returns home the following day, the snake, having devoured the eggs rather grossly (he has no manners, we are told - and this does give him an odd sort of appeal), has developed a bellyache and thrashed about so that he has tied each of his ends to opposite branches of the tree. The Crow family takes advantage of the snake's well-deserved misfortune and uses him as a clothesline and go on to bear many children now that the threat has been eliminated.

Is that morbid? Oh, I suppose. It's also a bit amusing and repulsive and odd enough to be memorable. It's not scary. If you want to scare the wits out of a kid, get Galdone's version of Tailypo. That gives me the creeps and I'm an adult. It's the only book I've ever vanquished to a high shelf for later. Much later.

The Crows of Pearblossom isn't scary. It's a fable with a bad guy who meets a bad end. There's really something that's just solid about the whole tale. It works, it's likable, Huxley's chosen words and phrases and various scenes carefully, and the accompanying illustrations for each carry the story along beautifully.

Personally, I'd snap up a copy of this before Disney discovers it and has the whole lot of 'em singing and dancing and becoming fast friends and learning to share in the end, with the snake loaning himself out as a clothesline willingly, encouraging the book police to begin a chant that the original should be gentrified to contain values relevant to our modern society. Just what are those values anyway?
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