Children and adults alike have a soft spot for “menaces.” Dennis the Menace is a prime example! But now there is a new menace in town, and his name is Brother Crow. You can read all about him in the newly revived 1951 Swedish legend called The Cantankerous Crow, by Lennart Hellsing.
In the book, a rambunctious crow named Brother Crow lives deep in the woods with his four crow sisters and his crow parents. A farmer lives in the woods, too, and he has a garden with the best cherry tree you’ve ever seen. Brother Crow’s mother warns him to stay away from the tree, but like many mischievous males, he disregards these instructions and sneaks into the garden anyway.
He is promptly caught and is soon put to work to earn his keep. But instead of helping the farmer out, he ends up cutting down his flag pole, dousing his cat with water, and feeding his beans to the hens.
The farmer is so annoyed that he tries to sell the crow at the local market, but when the only taker — a pastry baker — purchases him and puts him to work in the bakery, he makes a mess of that, too. Soon all the baker wants is to be free of that pesky crow.
The Cantankerous Crow is an old legend brought back to caw-cawing life, and is written for no other reason than to be funny to young children. The rhyming prose is as fast-paced as it is playful, and the illustrations by award-winning Danish illustrator Poul Stroyer, offer a rich, colorful, and kid-friendly view of the crow’s chaotic world.
Use this book for laughs, discussions about legends, and independent reading enjoyment. Also be advised that if there are any lessons to be learned in this mischievous book, it is that life is to be enjoyed, pranks are to be played, and crows are smarter than you think.