Crow Call Book Poster Image

Crow Call

Tender father-daughter tale is best for school-aged kids.

What parents need to know

Educational value
Not applicable
Positive messages

Spending time together helps bring the young girl and her father closer together. 

Positive role models

The father is tender and thoughtful with his daughter.  He  shows that he appreciates her, values her opinions, and enjoys letting her be her own person. 

Violence & scariness

The father goes out with a gun meaning to shoot birds but doesn't use it.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this story, based on one from the author's own life, is of a father-daughter hunting trip.  Though the father carries a rifle, he does not use it. All of the hunting is done by the little girl and her crow call. Though the story finishes on a happy note, the ending is a bit unusual
and may be confusing to younger children. So, though the book itself is
aimed at a 4- to 8-year-old audience, it seems more appropriate for
kids in the older part of that range.

Kids say

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What's the story?

When a father returns from the fighting in World War II, his young daughter feels that she hardly knows him. To help rebuild their relationship, they go on a very special hunting trip complete with the gift of an over-sized plaid flannel shirt, two slices of cherry pie, and a crow call.

Is it any good?


The tenderness of this story will have special appeal to someone whose parent has been away for a while, though all readers will find it touching. The story is based on one from acclaimed author Lois Lowry's own life, and its sentiments seem very real.  The author does a masterful job of showing the development of the father-daughter relationship throughout the day, as through each small step they get closer and closer.  And, the artwork does a spectacular job of bringing a nostalgic tone to the pages as well as showing the changing emotions.


Using watercolor and acryl-gouache on paper, the artist has created nostalgic golden-gray scenes that look friendly and somewhat reminiscent of Andrew Wyeth paintings. In fact, he has dedicated his work to Wyeth, which seems quite appropriate. The full two-page spreads of the father and daughter walking through the woods on a slightly overcast and misty morning are especially breathtaking in their silence and sensitivity.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about why Liz needed to practice calling her father "Daddy. Daddy." under her breath when they were riding in the car. What can you tell from the looks on both their faces? How do their faces change by the end of the book?

  • Why do you think her father gave her the crow call? How did that show her that he believed in her? Why did he buy her a man's shirt that was much too big for her? What did that tell her?  How about when he let her have two pieces of cherry pie for breakfast?

  • When the waitress mistook her for a boy, why did she keep her pigtails hidden under her collar? What was her dad's reaction?

  • How did Liz feel about hunting? How do you think she felt about crow calling? How did the hunting trip change how she felt toward her father?

Book details

Author:Lois Lowry
Illustrator:Bagram Ibatoulline
Genre:Family Life
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Scholastic Press
Publication date:October 1, 2009
Number of pages:32
Publisher's recommended age(s):4 - 8

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Parent of a 8, 9, 10, and 12 year old Written byDoc Kaos May 7, 2010

A book with an identity crisis

Althought the story fits with an older age group, the format fits with a younger. In the end, I found that no one wanted to read it. Although it was recommended for my 8 year old, the book is in the children's section and recommended by Chapters for ages 3-5. My 8 year old would be insulted that I didn't buy her a chapter book. I'm sure it's very good, but it seems conflicted that the format is for 3-5 year olds, but CommonSense puts it at 7+