Reviews

School Library Journal
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PreS-Gr 3—Scarecrow has a job to do—guard the field. He's good at his job. The animals don't come near. His success is lonely though, until one day a baby crow falls from the sky. Scarecrow must decide whether to guard the field or take pity on the tiny lost bird. Scarecrow's very human desire for companionship wins out as he gently nestles the baby against his straw heart, starting a journey from solitary custodian to much-loved protector. The story shows that family and friends can be found in unexpected ways and surprising places. While the lyrical text paints a lovely tale (providing examples of alliteration and rhyme), the Fan Brothers' marvelous illustrations elevate it to something magical. It's amazing to watch the play of emotions over a simple, painted, burlap face. It's impossible not to feel despair, longing, and love along with Scarecrow. From the desolate paleness of winter to the pastel palette of spring, the depth of the landscapes help readers feel the changing seasons as the story moves through the year. Mostly, it feels like a wonderful celebration of fall as the glowing warmth of autumn wheat unites the story from its melancholy beginning to its jubilant conclusion. VERDICT An emotionally impactful exploration of love and loneliness, this is an essential addition to any picture book collection.—Alyssa Annico, Youngstown State University, OH


Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

"Scarecrow stands alone and scares/ the fox and deer,/ the mice and crows," Ferry (Ten Rules of the Birthday Wish) begins in sturdy verse. "It's all he does. It's all he knows." Drawn by the Fan Brothers (The Antlered Ship), the scarecrow's burlap face and blank expression are startlingly realistic. One day, a nestling drops from the tree above him, and the scarecrow does something unexpected: "He snaps his pole,/ bends down low,/ saves the tiny baby crow." He encircles it in its arms of straw and perches it on his breast; the lonely scarecrow needs a friend as much as the nestling needs him. Over the spring and summer, the two become inseparable-they're shown in dramatic silhouette against a summer moon, fireflies blinking nearby. In the autumn, the crow flies away, and the Scarecrow's sewn-on smile turns upside down-but spring brings his friend back, and new life arrives. Though the story's arc is predictable, Ferry's tale is a novel twist on the theme of love between adversaries, while the Fan Brothers' finely worked art grounds the story in the movement of the seasons. Ages 4-8. Author's agent: Elena Giovinazzo, Pippin Properties. Illustrators' agent: Kirsten Hall, Catbird Productions. (Sept.) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Kirkus
Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Ferry and the Fans portray a popular seasonal character's unlikely friendship. Initially, the protagonist is shown in his solitary world: "Scarecrow stands alone and scares / the fox and deer, / the mice and crows. / It's all he does. It's all he knows." His presence is effective; the animals stay outside the fenced-in fields, but the omniscient narrator laments the character's lack of friends or places to go. Everything changes when a baby crow falls nearby. Breaking his pole so he can bend, the scarecrow picks it up, placing the creature in the bib of his overalls while singing a lullaby. Both abandon natural tendencies until the crow learns to flyand thus departs. The aabb rhyme scheme flows reasonably well, propelling the narrative through fall, winter, and spring, when the mature crow returns with a mate to build a nest in the overalls bib that once was his home. The Fan brothers capture the emotional tenor of the seasons and the main character in their panoramic pencil, ballpoint, and digital compositions. Particularly poignant is the close-up of the scarecrow's burlap face, his stitched mouth and leaf-rimmed head conveying such sadness after his companion goes. Some adults may wonder why the scarecrow seems to have only partial agency, but children will be tuned into the problem, gratified by the resolution.A welcome addition to autumnal storytellingand to tales of traditional enemies overcoming their history. (Picture book. 4-6) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Summer, fall, winter, spring ... in every season Scarecrow scares critters away from his field. But when a small, frightened crow falls from the sky, He snaps his pole, / bends down low, / and saves the tiny baby crow. Tucking it into the straw near his heart, he sings the nestling to sleep. They become loyal friends. In late summer, the crow flies away. Through autumn and winter, Scarecrow sags on his broken pole, but spring brings a happy reunion, as the bird spruces him up, finds a mate, and builds a nest beside his heart, where five eggs hatch into baby crows. The text works well, rolling along in a series of rhymed couplets that help create an emotional connection with the characters, particularly the scarecrow, but avoid sentimentality. Created with pencil and ballpoint as well as digital elements, the impressive double-page illustrations use line, texture, and color with uncommon finesse. The final page shows the contented Scarecrow at the center of an illustration resembling a traditional Peaceable Kingdom scene. A beautifully crafted picture book.--Carolyn Phelan Copyright 2019 Booklist

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