A Crow of His Own
Megan Dowd Lambert, author
Megan Dowd Lambert is a senior lecturer in children's literature at Simmons College, where she earned her master's degree in children's literature after completing a B.A. at Smith College. She writes for the Horn Book Magazine; served on the 2011 Caldecott committee; and worked at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art for many years, leading Whole Book Approach storytimes and training others in her methods.
Read more about Megan.
David Hyde Costello, illustrator
David Hyde Costello has worked as a scenic artist for motion pictures and the stage. David has also painted and created puppets for theatrical productions. He is the author of Here They Come! and I Can Help. David lives in Amherst, Massachusetts.
Read more about David.
- CCBC Choices
- Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Honor Book
- Bank Street Best Children’s Books of the Year 2016
A scrawny young rooster named Clyde tries to fill the big shoes of his predecessor, Larry, in Lambert's verbally dexterous ode to identity. Larry the rooster brought star power to Sunrise Farm. He knew how, in the farmspun words of motherly goose Roberta, to make "quite a show of it"-"it" being the morning cock-a-doodle-doo. When Clyde pops from his crate to greet his new farm mates, all bumble-footed and insecure in the shadow of the great Larry, the other animals (minus Roberta) find him wanting: in word bubbles of disappointment, "What a worthless chicken." Clyde endeavors to top Larry at Larry's game-two-stepping, riding a unicycle, parachuting into the dawn-and he makes a hash of it, because Clyde isn't Larry. Clyde must find his own voice, and he does so with a little help from Roberta. Where Lambert hoes a row of her own is in the wording of the story. No "said" or "asked" makes an appearance. Rather, readers discover "stammered" and "soothed," "assured" and "chirped," "mused" and "fussed." Costello's pen-and-watercolor illustrations are a happy vehicle for the story, with colors from deep in the big crayon box, expressive penwork and a pleasing hominess to the farm. An invitation to be your own showman, crow your own crow, cock-a-doodle-doo with "a little warble at the beginning, and a crescendo at the 'doodle'...and oh, that raspy growl."
The Horn Book Magazine
New rooster Clyde has some big shoes to fill on Sunrise Farm, and he'd better not forget it: "He's certainly no Larry," says a sheep; "He was a genius," adds a cow. Details in the barnyard-set watercolor illustrations include a poster of "The Illustrious Larry" plastered to the barn and glimpses of Larry's inspirational books (How to Crow Like Larry, by Larry). But back to Clyde: after several false starts, and with the help of a kind goose named Roberta, he eventually finds his crow.
School Library Journal
When Larry, a prize-winning rooster, takes off for new opportunities, Farmer Jay and Farmer Kevin replace him with Clyde. When the farm animals see the scrawny new bird for the first time, they say things like "Uh-oh" and "Not much pep in his step." A group of chickens ignores him because they are too busy declaring their love for Larry in the dirt with their feet. A motherly goose named Roberta steps in to help Clyde when she sees him worrying about living up to Larry's "cock-a-doodle-doo." After several failures, Clyde learns that he doesn't need to impress the others with showmanship and props. He just needs to be himself and that is enough to make him stand out from the others. The watercolor illustrations are realistic in style, but the doubting animals speak in humorous dialogue balloons, and they occasionally act like people (they watch Larry on TV and read the newspaper). VERDICT A very funny but telling look at self-acceptance and not assuming the worst based on first impressions.
ISBN: 978-1-60734-756-9 EPUB
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Page count: 32
10 x 8
Correlated to Common Core State Standards:
English Language Arts-Literacy. Reading Literature. Kindergarten. Standards 1-7, 10.
English Language Arts-Literacy. Reading Literature. Grade 1. Standards 1-4, 6, 7, 10.