PPBF: Song for Papa Crow

Another Friday, another PPBF. Today's pick is a lesson in singing your own song - literally!

Title: Song for Papa Crow
Author and Illustrator: Marit Menzin
Publisher: Schiffer Publishing, Ltd.
Publication Date: July 28, 2012
Suitable for ages: 4 - 7 (and up!)

Brief synopsis: Little Crow loves to sing, but the other birds don't like his song one bit; if only he could mimic the other birds like the Mockingbird does. A special seed from Mockingbird helps Little Crow sing as pretty as the songbirds, but what will happen when Little Crow finds himself in danger and is no longer able to sing his own song to alert his Father? 
Opening page:  

Little Crow loved to sing. 
He sang all the time, everywhere he went. 
"Caw! Caw! Caw!" 
he croaked.
The singing birds did not love to hear Little Crow sing.
Not any time. Not anywhere.
Whenever Little Crow joined them in the big old maple tree, 
he saw them leave, one by one.

Read a book review from Cozy Little Book Journal blog {here}
Read an interview with the author/illustrator {here}
Teach your songbirds this little song; click {here} to download:

Why I like this book: 

Sing your own song, what a beautifully lyrical message in this fun treasure trove from this new author. The illustrations enhance the text and engage me in a way that I haven't experienced in a long time. They are brilliant! I also love the bird information page about the North America birds that are featured in the book. Students can compare and contrast the crow with their favorite songbird. The book is also chunk full of onomatopoeia.

Application:  I got a Papa Crow and Little Crow puppet duo as a gift from my friend Kirsten in the mail last week so I used them in guidance this week. As I greeted my kindies at the door, one of them asked, "Is that a crow or a grackle?" I explained that it was a Crow and he added that "yeah, he's much too big to be a grackle." I just love my littlest learners! Anyway, the two birds are playing hide and seek, and Papa Crow needs our help.  He is it but can't find Little Crow. When I ask if we can play, Papa Crow will tell me "no" and explains that we can't play with them because we're not black birds .... birds of a feather flock together after all, right? So he's stuck, really, because he needs our help but he can't won't let us play. We explain that it's not fair that we can't play and that we're really good hide and seekers even if we aren't exactly like them. This results in a riveting reflection - Do I have to be just like you to play with you?about being friends with one another and getting along regardless of size, skin color, or race. Such a powerful diversity lesson as told by a black bird and its baby.

This also makes me think about other bird references I've heard:

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
I know why the caged bird sings.
The early bird gets the worm.
Birds sing after the storm.
I have a bird's eye view.
That's for the birds.

After a discussion about what these expressions and idioms mean, let students illustrate the one that speaks to them. 

Here's a Blue Jay that our son Joshua drew in fourth grade.

Or have your students pick their favorite songbird from the page in
 the back of the book and draw a picture of it for a 
Sing Your Own Song visual display.


  1. Wow! Your son Joshua is an artist! Thanks so much for sharing this book, Barbara! I love the message of it, and I love that it includes info about North American songbirds - fun AND educational :)

  2. Oh, oh, oh - love crows - and I would like that puppet too, but was already sold on the cover!

  3. Attractive cover and a great message about being one's self. You always have such great activities. Enjoy your reading your entries.

  4. This sounds like a great learning book for kids. I love the 'caw' of the crow, it is one bird call that is very easy to identify.

  5. This sounds like a great book and I LOVE the activity you came up with for it. What a great lesson to share with your kindergarten students.

  6. I have to have that book;) I love crows and that puppet is adorable. Thank you for sharing.
    I'm off to search my local book store!
    Grade ONEderful
    Ruby Slippers Blog Designs

  7. Love those crow puppets, kids always love these in story time. Super activities as always, Barbara. Like the idea of discovering more about North American song birds.

  8. Lovely book, but I am also impressed with your sons artistic talent. Thanks for sharing, Barbara.

  9. I think Marit was just featured on the Writing and Illustrating blog. She is an incredible artist! This was a great choice to review for PPBF and your class!

  10. I found your blog through TBA and I'm so glad I did! I am your newest follower :)

    Mindful Rambles

  11. This looks like a great book! I like to sing too! Did you write that little song? You always have such great ideas! Thanks for sharing!

  12. How cute! I didn't think I would ever find a crow cute...but...HOW CUTE! Thanks for making me aware of this book! I will have to find it and read it!


I really enjoy hearing from my readers; thanks for sharing your reflections with us!

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