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Rainbow Crow


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About the Author

Nancy Van Laan was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She began writing in 1962 while studying art and working in television. She earned an MFA in Theater from Rutgers University in 1979. She taught English and creative writing for a number of years before publishing her first book, The Big Fat Worm, in 1987. She is the author of over two dozen children's books, including the beloved picture books Rainbow Crow, Little Baby Bobby, and the Parents' Choice Award winner Possum Come a-Knockin', among others.


K-Gr 2-- A Native American legend that will be a fine read-aloud because of the smooth text and songs with repetitive chants. The Rainbow Crow brings fire on a burning stick from the Great Spirit in the sky to the snow-covered woodland animals. Because of the smoke he inhales as he flies back to the woodlands, he unselfishly loses his beautiful voice. No longer is he a rainbow-colored bird, but a black crow. His crackly ``caw'' and plain black feathers give him his freedom, however, for man, who has not yet arrived in the woodlands, will not hunt crow. Because Crow cannot sing, his feathers are black, and his meat tastes like fire and smoke, he will be free. Thus is his unselfishness rewarded. The illustrations, done in a primitive style, create a true sense of the Pennsylvania Lenape Indians and their winters. Raccoon, deer, beaver, fox, and pheasant are all clearly depicted in soft colors. --Kathleen Riley, Hilltop Elementary School, Beachwood, Ohio

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