Charlie's Raven

Book review by
Matt Berman, Common Sense Media
Charlie's Raven Book Poster Image
Charlie believes a raven can cure his grandfather.

Parents say

age 9+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 5 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Positive Messages
Violence & Scariness

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this is a pedagogical story in the best sense -- designed to teach about ecology in general and ravens in particular, and to serve as a model for behavior in families, friendships, and stewardship. The animal behavior aspects of the story are based on good science and research, and the book can lead both to a desire for more information and to good discussions.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bycountrychick08 April 9, 2008
Teen, 13 years old Written byscar66 June 7, 2009

a great, heart warming tale

this is a beautiful book that i would recomend to anyone with an interest in nature and animal relationships. i read this as a choice reading in my advanced eng... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old December 1, 2008

What's the story?

Charlie, whose naturalist grandfather is ill, hears from a Sioux friend that ravens can cure sickness, so he steals a baby raven from its nest and names it Blue Sky. It imprints on him, and he raises it at his grandparents' house, finding that it does seem to make his grandfather feel better. With his grandfather's encouragement, he decides to study the effect of the raven, and the environment in general, on his family and friends.

As the raven grows, it becomes more independent, and Charlie begins to realize that his role is no longer that of a parent, though he's not sure what his new role is. This is just one of many mysteries about Blue Sky, which he is determined to solve.

Is it any good?

In her literary niche -- animal-centered ecological fiction -- Jean George has no equal. Like many of her previous novels, CHARLIE'S RAVEN centers on the relationship between a child and an animal, in this case a raven, and is firmly grounded in scientific fact about animal behavior and communication. George has the unique ability to make an animal into a fascinating and delightful character without anthropomorphizing it, and Blue Sky is a worthy successor to Frightful the falcon and Amaroq the wolf.

Like many of her previous books, there's not a lot of plot here, and despite the outdoor setting, this is not a book for kids who must have action and adventure. Instead George takes readers into an unfamiliar life in the far north, close to the land and its seasons, in which science and mysticism mix in delightful and poignant ways. Children who are fascinated by animals, by nature and science, by a life far away from their own, will be enthralled.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the relationship between Charlie and Blue Sky. Has this book changed the way you view birds?

Book details

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