The Crow and the Big Oak Tree

Children - Animals
24 Pages
Reviewed on 01/27/2017
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Lisa McCombs for Readers' Favorite

A narcissistic black crow claims a large oak tree as his personal domain. After all, he is quite impressive, if he does say so himself. When one day he is visited by a squirrel that believes the crow’s big oak tree is the perfect storage shelter for winter nuts, the crow is livid, insisting that the squirrel leave his tree. The poor little squirrel does as the crow demands, but with a heavy heart. Not long afterward, the crow is visited by a snake that attempts to slither up the tree. Wanting nothing to do with the snake, the crow picks it up and flies the terrified snake to a nearby pond where he roughly drops the snake to the ground. Unwelcome visitors do not stop with the snake, leaving the crow extremely upset. When he becomes the victim of a violent act and is saved by one of his unwelcome visitors, the crow has a change of heart...

The Crow and the Big Oak Tree by Anne Toole is a delightful tale that offers a lesson in acceptance. Young readers will be reminded to overlook physical differences in others. Richa Kinra’s illustrations are vibrant and eye catching, completing the package of a nicely written and visually attractive story. A nice perspective on a necessary lesson. I envisage The Crow and the Big Oak Tree not only marketed as for individual sale, but also for public read-alongs, library functions, and a curriculum foundation for a broader lesson plan in tolerance.

Rosie Malezer

The Crow and the Big Oak Tree is a children's book written by Anne Toole and illustrated by Richa Kinra. After a big black crow finds a tree which he considers to be as majestic as he is, he claims it as his own and scares the other animals away. A squirrel, a snake, an owl, some birds and bees try to rest or make their new homes there, but the crow scares them away. Then two boys see the crow. They throw stones at it, hoping to bring it down so they can take it home and claim it as their new pet. After a rock hits the crow, the bees attack the boys, frightening them away. The crow finally realizes that sharing the tree with other animals is not such a bad idea after all.

Anne Toole's book about an intolerant crow, who thinks he is better than all the other animals, is a tale of vanity which ends up being overridden by the need for allies and friendship. After the crow evicted all the other animals from the tree and bullied them into leaving, the bees still came to the crow's aid after it was attacked by the boys. This causes the crow to reconsider where his priorities and loyalties lie. Sometimes friendships are forged in the most unlikely of circumstances, but when this does occur, embrace it and be grateful that there are some animals out there who are great allies in times of need. I enjoyed The Crow and the Big Oak Tree and the lessons it brings to the reader. I recommend this book to young readers aged 3-7, as it teaches children at a young age that you get nowhere in life without friends, and refusing to share leaves you miserable, vulnerable and alone.

Viga Boland

When my daughters were still in elementary school, they delighted in a series of books known as the Serendipity Series. I had to read a Serendipity book to them each night while they pored over the gorgeous illustrations. If we'd had The Crow and the Big Oak Tree back then, my girls would have loved it too, both for its visual beauty and the lovely story.

Anne Toole, a teacher, has put out other children's books and collaborated with Richa Kinra on the illustrations before. As my children are now grown, I rarely read children's books, but am glad I selected The Crow and the Big Oak Tree to remind me what it's like to read an excellent story for children.

The story is as delightful as the illustrations. The crow is a narcissistic bully who claims the big oak tree for his own. When other animals try to enjoy it or live in it with him, he tells them the tree belongs to him and they need to go. When others challenge him and remind him the tree belongs to all the creatures in the forest, he becomes even more boorish. But as all good fables with a moral go, the day comes when he meets his match in a bunch of boys. Now he becomes the bullied one. I don't want to give away what happens, but it teaches him a lesson, and he indeed learns the value of having friends in the forest.

The Crow and the Big Oak Tree by Anne Toole will appeal to children in Grades 3 - 5. Parents can read this sweet story to the younger children in the family, while those old enough to read will find it easy with the simple sentences. But whatever the age of the children looking at this book, they will enjoy looking at those illustrations while reading the story. This old child certainly did!