________________ CM . . . . Volume XXII Number . . . .September 25, 2015


Jacqueline the Singing Crow.

Mandi Kujawa. Illustrated by Claude St. Aubin. Lettering by Annie Parkhouse.
Canmore, AB: Renegade Arts Entertainment Ltd. (www.renegadeartsentertaiment.com), 2015.
46 pp., pbk., $14.99.
ISBN 978-0-99215087-7.

Kindergarten-grade 3 / Ages 5–8.

Review by Chasity Findlay.

**** /4


She tucked herself in tight to the trunk of the tree to hide…
…but it was no use because the humans down below were birdwatchers.

Mr. Keen had his brand new binoculars:
“I’ve found one! I’ve found one!”

His companion, Ms. Been-There-Done-That, didn’t bother with binoculars.
“Oh, a crow. Dreadful birds. Those horrible sounds they make—they can’t even sing. Let’s find something more interesting, shall we?”


Jacqueline sang all the time. She sang with her friends, she sang with her family, she sang for her joy! And to find out now that people thought she sounded horrible… It was too much!

“Disgusting, boring, can’t even sing.”

She had to get away. Far, far away where she would never, ever be near human beings again.


Renegade Arts Entertainment’s new picture book follows the journey of Jacqueline, a crow that loves to sing. One day, as Jacqueline is singing with her friends, some humans say some hurtful things about her. They say that she is disgusting, dreadful, drab, boring, and that she can’t even sing. Jacqueline is hurt and surprised by these insults. She decides that she will fly away to a place where she will never be near humans again. The question to be determined is: will Jacqueline ever find confidence in her singing again?

     Author Mandi Kujawa’s inspiration for this story came from one of her own experiences with singing. When she was a child, she was once told that she was singing out of tune. Her feelings were hurt, much like Jacqueline’s are in the story. The story of Jacqueline the crow began as oral storytelling for a group of children, and Kujawa’s rendition grew over many tellings.

     This text is a picture book that incorporates aspects of graphic novels to best convey the story of Jacqueline. The book includes both narration and speech bubbles which really give voice to Jacqueline and the humans in the text. The book concludes with sheet music for Jacqueline’s song which will be of interest to any musically inclined readers.

     Readers will be able to connect with Jacqueline’s feelings while viewing Claude St-Aubin’s colourful and realistic artwork which complements the structure of the written text. The artwork is extremely detailed: from the shading and shadows that emphasize the crow’s glossy feathers to the realistic features of the humans that perfectly capture their disdain toward Jacqueline. Because of this, readers will be able to analyse the body language and expressions of the characters in the text. The illustrations are true to the graphic novel format, with full-page and double-page spreads varied with pages that include two or three illustrations of the same or different sizes. The varying sizes and formats of the illustrations add interest and keep things unpredictable.

     Jacqueline the Singing Crow is a sweet story that teaches children about the importance of being yourself and having the confidence to keep trying the things that you are passionate about despite receiving negative feedback. This text opens the door to many conversations about personal identity and determination. This heart-warming tale is likely to become a cherished story time read for many children.

Highly Recommended.

Chasity Findlay is a high school English teacher in Winnipeg, MB, and a graduate student at the University of Manitoba.

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.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.

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