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Posted & filed under Children's Book Reviews

In Lila and the Crow, Quebec author and illustrator Gabrielle Grimard tackles the topic of bullying.  Being the new girl in town, Lila eagerly awaits the first day of school, and looks forward to making many friends.  Her dreams are dashed when she attracts the attention of Nathan, the redheaded classroom ring leader, who taunts her with cruel jeers like:  “A crow!  The new girl’s hair is black like a crow!”  After enduring a recess full of whispers and stares, Lila walks home with a heavy heart.  The next day, Lila hides her hair beneath a knitted hat, but this doesn’t deter Nathan from finding something else to mock, including the colour of her skin and eyes.

Gabrielle Grimard’s realistic watercolour illustrations evocatively show Lila withdrawing into herself, and trying to disappear behind layers of clothing and big, dark glasses.   Sitting alone, at the edge of the playground, Lila is loneliness personified.

In a satisfying twist of magic realism, a wise crow offers encouragement and a clever plan.  Lila makes a dramatic and majestic entrance at her school’s Autumn Festival when she wears a costume made out of hundreds of beautiful, glossy, black crow’s feathers.  Embracing her differences, Lila proudly reclaims her nickname and wears it with aplomb.  Full of emotional resonance, Lila and the Crow will spark thoughtful discussion.

  • Lila and the Crow

    By Gabrielle Grimard, Published by Annik Press
    • ISBN 13: 978-1-55451-858-6
Linda Ludke
Linda Ludke is a librarian at London Public Library.  Her reviews have appeared in Quill and Quire, School Library Journal and CM:  Canadian Review of Materials.  When she’s not reading and writing she also loves searching for vintage treasures.