Friday, October 22, 2010

Battle of the Books Friday: Charlie's Raven by Jean Craighead George

Starting today, Fridays will be Battle of the Books Friday here on Mrs. Archer's Book Notes. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I have challenged myself to finish reading through the list of 40 titles. Now I will also be reading books nominated for next year's list.  Check back each Friday for more information.

Thirteen year old Charlie is worried about his grandfather who is recovering from a heart attack. Charlie’s Teton Sioux Indian friend, Singing Bird tells him that ravens can “cure people.”  Charlie’s grandfather is a naturalist and has studied ravens over the years. Convinced a raven is the cure his grandfather needs, Charlie sets out to get one.  Blue Sky, Charlie’s raven, becomes a member of the family after he imprints on Charlie.  Charlie’s grandfather does appear to improve with regular visits from Blue Sky combined with the grandfather’s involvement in Charlie’s raven research project.  The author  incorporates interesting scientific information about raven behavior into the story along with a bit of Native American story telling.  A few incidents will give the true scientist pause: Blue Sky speaks and other members of the raven family seem to sense and react to a neighbor’s hatred of ravens.  However, overall the story is an excellent read.   The relationship between Charlie, his grandfather and Blue Sky is a moving story that will generate an interest in the natural world and provide some true understanding into the proper way to conduct nature research.
I must admit that this is not a book I would have chosen to read if I had not challenged myself to read all of the books on the Pike’s Peak Region Battle of the Books List.  Sometimes it is good to read something outside your comfort zone.
Recommended for grades 4 – 7.

Mrs. Archer’s Rating: 4 of 5

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