Crow Smarts: Inside the Brain of the World’s Brightest Bird by Pamela S. Turner, photographs by Andy Comins, illustrated by Guido De Filippo

  Crow Smarts: Inside the Brain of the World’s Brightest Bird by Pamela S. Turner, photographs by Andy Comins, illustrated by Guido De Filippo, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 978035813605 (paperback), 9780544416192 (hardcover), c2016, 2020

Format: Paperback

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5

What did you like about the book? Crows are perhaps one of, if not the most, misunderstood birds on the planet. Contrary to popular belief, they are not mean nor do they circle haunted houses and graveyards on a regular basis. Crows are actually one of the most highly evolved creatures – able to build tools to solve problems, communicate effectively within their community, and show empathy. This Scientists in the Field text does an excellent job of making the case for embracing crows for their amazing abilities and abandoning the negative stereotypes that have surrounded them for centuries. The layout is peppered with many bright and informative photographs, and the illustrations add a more scientific nuance to the end chapters. Middle school readers likely would rely on the text for research rather than pleasure reading. As such, the book does provide a somewhat useful table of contents, an “ask-the-author” section, and an index. Overall, the pages are filled with text and present a hybrid of narrative and expository structures. This may not hold the attention of a middle-grade reader for long. The facts are well researched and a thorough bibliography provides additional texts for consideration.

Anything you didn’t like about it? No

To whom would you recommend this book?  Anyone who is fascinated by animal behavior or crows, in particular, would enjoy this book. Also, this would be a great companion text for students who are researching crows.

Who should buy this book? Middle school and public libraries

Where would you shelve it? 598 birds

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No, not unless you are looking to expand your bird collection or have the other titles in the Science in the Field Collection and wish to expand.

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Linda Broderick, Lincoln Street Elementary School, Northboro, MA

Date of review:  2/6/20

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