Sophie Blackall, illustrator of the Caldecott-Medal-winning book Finding Winnie, created standout illustrations for this timeless picture book. Written in 1944 by Aldous Huxley as a Christmas gift for his niece, The Crows of Pearblossom tells the story of Mr. and Mrs. Crow, who live in a cottonwood tree. The hungry Rattlesnake that lives at the bottom of the tree has a nasty habit of stealing Mrs. Crow's eggs before they can hatch, so Mr. Crow and his wise friend, Old Man Owl, devise a sneaky plan to trick him.
This funny story of cleverness triumphing over greed, similar in tone and wit to the work of A. A. Milne, shows a new side of a great writer. Paired with stunning illustrations by Caldecott-winner Sophie Blackall, this timeless tale is sure to grab the attention of many readers—adults and children alike.
Praise for The Crows of Pearblossom
“With Huxley’s mordant wit in ample supply, this tale will entertain literary novelty seekers.”
“Huxley’s story starts good and grim—just the thing to hold a young audience.” –Kirkus Reviews
“A rather charming children’s book. The story is clever, wittily told and bristles with spiky humor — and it could quite possibly become a new favorite among schoolchildren. In the reissued edition, Brooklyn-based illustrator Sophie Blackwell transforms the chapter book into a picture book. Huxley’s standing as one of the grandfathers of dystopian Y.A. is already established. Perhaps the next generation will think of him as that guy who wrote about crows’ eggs.” –New York Times ARTSBEAT blog
“A vivid picture-book edition with robust and suitably disquieting illustrations by Sophie Blackall.”
–Wall Street Journal
For Christmas 1944, the author of Brave New World wrote this story of a crow couple's battle with an egg-eating snake, giving it to his six-year-old niece, who provides an afterword (the tale was first published in 1967). Unsurprisingly, this is no cheery animal fable. "very afternoon punctually at half past three," while Mr. Crow is working and Mrs. Crow is shopping, Rattlesnake slithers into their nest. "If there was an egg in the nest which there generally was he would swallow it in one mouthful, shell and all." Mrs. Crow discovers the snake and tells her husband to save their "darling eggs." Tricked into eating a heavy clay egg, the snake ends up as a clothesline, and Mrs. Crow happily breeds "four families of seventeen children each." Blackall (Pecan Pie Baby) pictures a lovely gnarled tree as the prolific family's residence, yet her unnerving watercolors of the glassy-eyed crows reinforce the story's sinister elements. With Huxley's mordant wit in ample supply, this tale will entertain literary novelty seekers; it's best suited for children who don't mind some darkness in their stories. Ages 4 8.