________________ CM . . . . Volume XXI Number 21. . . .February 6, 2015


The Cardinal & the Crow.

Michael Moniz.
Vancouver, BC: Simply Read Books, 2014.
40 pp., hardcover, $18.95.
ISBN 978-1-927018-58-3.

Kindergarten-grade 2 / Ages 5-7.

Review by Ellen Heaney.

**** /4



Michael Moriz is both a picture book author and a commercial artist. In The Cardinal & the Crow, he gives a nod to Aesop to write a brisk, entertaining fable.

     He launches into the narrative in true storyteller’s style:

Near the edge of a small forest lived a crow, who perched on the limb of a large, twisted tree from dawn to dusk. This crow was
very old, older than any of the other birds or animals for many
miles around...

He would have been happy if only the other birds
left him in peace.

     Crow’s life is spoiled by cheeky Cardinal who has gathered followers because of his bright plumage and “beautiful warbling voice”.

      Both Cardinal and Crow stay behind when their avian neighbours migrate. Cardinal continues to taunt Crow because the presence of a bird feeder means his food supply is secure. But Crow is not only older than Cardinal, he is wiser.

Crow, watching rash Cardinal from his perch with a wary eye, decided to give him some advice.
“Be careful when fluttering around that contraption.
You never know what might be hiding somewhere below.”

     What is below is a watchful cat which pounces and manages to capture Cardinal in its jaws. Crow saves the other bird using flattery. He throws out compliments, the culmination of which is:

“Would you please, just for me, give a mighty roar?” Crow pleaded.
“Only a great king of beasts, like you, can give such a roar. Let me
hear and rejoice with you in your victory.”

     Of course, Cardinal is able to escape from the cat when it opens its mouth and shows itself chastened by the experience. Crow states the moral of the story:

“...pride and foolishness often roost on the same branch.”

     The birds live in harmony thereafter.

internal art      As suits the traditional form of the tale, the text of the story is minimal. Starkly-outlined birds and an animated cat are shown on a hazy background with little detail in it. This focuses the reader’s attention on the interchange between characters. Cardinal’s red feathers provide the only colour on the arresting double spreads. A book for primary school and public libraries.

Highly Recommended.

Ellen Heaney is a retired children’s librarian living in Coquitlam, BC.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
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