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Star Star Star Star Star
Scarecrow Finds a Friend
by Blume J. Rifken
Children - Grade K-3rd
32 Pages
Reviewed on 09/02/2009

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Book Review
Scarecrow Finds A Friend is the story of Tally. Tally is a witch losing her flying power. Scarecrow helps Tally recover her power.

The lesson in this book is one of friendship. The illustrations are delightful. I would suggest this book for preschool children. It would make a great Halloween gift, much better than candy.


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Grady Harp
In our hurried world we too often forget the importance of the simple beauties such as the magic of the changes of seasons and the numerous holidays that create so many rich memories for children to carry into adulthood. Writer Blume J. Rifken and artist/illustrator Carl W. Wenzel have combined much of the joys of these neglected beauties in this charming and beautifully presented story about friendships, promises, and the magic of autumn's atmosphere on the traditions of Halloween and Thanksgiving.

Scarecrow, happy with November's respite from guarding crops, dreams of the past Halloween encounter with Tally, a terrific witch who granted his wish to go trick or treating. Tally returns to Scarecrow's November, losing her powers to fly because of her overindulgence in wish granting. Scarecrow, growing daily more fragile as his straw stuffing blows away with the autumn winds, promises Tally a solution to her wish to fly high again: November's Thanksgiving aromas suggest that the farmer's children will come to the fields after their dinner and rescue his dilapidated condition - at which time Scarecrow will assist Tally in finding the turkey's wishbone to regain her ability to fly. How this closure of friendship and promises occurs makes for a happy ending and a solid reminder of the joy of the autumn gifts of holidays and family and friends.

Though the book is rated for readers 4 - 8 years, this is a book that would be well to bring out each autumn for the whole family - from toddlers to old folks. The story is solid and the illustrations in exquisite watercolor renderings are stunning. This is definitely a fine book to keep in any home, but especially in homes that honor tradition and the majesty of the changes of seasons. Grady Harp, August 08


Lori Robson
To have straw for brains, this scarecrow is one smart cookie.

Blume J. Rifken's crop protector finds himself in a hefty predicament when Tally the friendly witch exhausts her power to grant the scarecrow his wish of trick-or-treating with his family's children, Seth, Sue and Holly. To help her out, the scarecrow devises a plan to get a wish of her own granted with the help of a wishbone...that's in the farmhouse across the field. To retrieve the bone, scarecrow has Tally relieve him of some of his straw so the kids will take him inside to restuff him. Though their sneak-and-snatch trick initially seems unsuccessful, the book takes a twist and ends on a happy note.

The story is adorable, but different, not like many fantasy stories that have a reiterative, straight-forward concept and lesson hidden in its depths. Here, the concept of sharing and helping one another is prevalent right from the beginning, so the suspense of the tale allows the reader to derive more from the words and images than just a life lecture. The illustrations, done by Carl W. Wenzel, are exceptional, painting the exact picture the words portray. A beautiful story, perfect for the youngster in your life.


Bryan Carey
Scarecrow Finds a Friend is a nice children's book aimed at the four to eight year- old crowd. This book features the common storyline of friendship. In this instance, one of the book's characters, a Witch, befriends another, a Scarecrow, by granting him a wish. Later, the Scarecrow returns the favor by helping his friend get her own wish granted, even though, unlike his friend, he doesn't have any magical powers to grant wishes.

This children's book is written to appeal to elementary school age children and the story it presents includes a larger number of sentences and a little more plot to follow than many other children's books. A young child would grow impatient with the lengthier dialogue, but this is just about right for the target age group. There is enough here to challenge the skills of elementary school age children without overwhelming them, so the book definitely earns points in this area.

As for the story itself, it does offer a nice, feel- good, important-lesson-to-learn message about helping a friend in need who has befriended you in the past. The message is a positive one, but there is one small problem that I have with the story. Toward the end, the logic of the story gets a little fuzzy when the Scarecrow suddenly discovers the wishbone- which was needed in order to grant his friend her wish- mixed in with his own straw in his body. He had been in the house of the family who owns him, was getting his straw replaced, left the house, and then a strong wind strikes and blows a wishbone right out of him. This is a little far-fetched. Yes, the kids in the house were stuffing the Scarecrow's body with fresh straw, but how would they accidentally stuff the wishbone from the Thanksgiving turkey in his body? Did they reach for some trash to finish the job? A little more realistic twist to the plot would have made this part of the story better.

Illustrations in this book are pretty good. They don't offer the all- out splash of colors like often found in other children's books, but then again, this book isn't aimed at the very young- it is aimed at elementary school age children so the colors are just fine. The drawings in this book are all situated on a white background and they feature hues like brown, yellow, blue, green, and purple. The colors are a little more subdued, but they fit the mood of the story.

Overall, Scarecrow Finds a Friend is a good children's book with a positive message, good illustrations, and a challenging writing style that persuades kids to think as they read. I would have found a better, more realistic way to get the wishbone from the turkey into the Scarecrow's hands. But Scarecrow Finds a Friend is still a good book that most elementary school- age children will find to their liking.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
5.0 out of 5 stars A story about the reciprocation of good deeds, August 5, 2008
By Charles Ashbacher "(" (Marion, Iowa United States( - See all my reviews
Scarecrow is about to earn a well-deserved rest after a long, hot summer of keeping the birds away from the crops. Halloween is coming soon and his wish is to be able to go trick-or-treating like the children. Tally is a witch and she grants Scarecrow his wish and they go trick-or-treating together. It is great fun and Scarecrow enjoys eating the candy.
However, the act of granting Scarecrow his wish has depleted Tally's powers and she can no longer fly. In order to replenish her powers, someone needs to grant Tally a wish. Scarecrow comes up with a plan that will do that. By taking straw out of his body, the children will want to repair him and to do that; they will take him in the house. When they take Scarecrow into the house, Tally will follow and take the wishbone from the Thanksgiving turkey. After the repairs, Scarecrow is taken back outside and they find the wishbone in his straw. They both make their wish and when they pull on the bone, Tally wins and her power is restored. Scarecrow then informs her that since he also wished that her powers would return, she would have had them no matter who received the largest piece of the bone.
This is a beautifully illustrated and delightful tale about wishes, friendship, reciprocation of good deeds and looking after one another. Tally grants Scarecrow his wish and then when Tally needs help, Scarecrow reciprocates in helping Tally get her powers back. The lesson of returning good deeds is one that children need to learn and this book provides that lesson.
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