Dancing Pigs ©  Marit Menzin<br> Press Release


Song for Papa Crow, Mom's Choice Awards Gold Honor

Children learn to value themselves and find their own unique voice as they follow the story of Little Crow and how he strives to fit in, but is that always the best thing to do?


Little Crow loves to sing, and Papa Crow loves his song. But when Little Crow shares his crow songs with the other birds at the big, old tree, they laugh and scatter.

Maybe Mockingbird can teach him to sing songs with the finches, flycatchers, and cardinals—and help him make some friends. But Little Crow should be careful what he wishes for...

Using Mockingbird’s tip, Little Crow quickly becomes the most popular bird on the block but, in a moment of danger, he learns that singing someone else’s song can have terrible consequences, and that his own voice—and his father’s love—is of the greatest value.

Paired with colorful collage illustrations, this inspirational story is complemented by fun facts about North American birds and their sounds. A great Father's Day gift!

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Tune to Little Crow: Melody and lyrics by Marit Menzin
Maayan Oved, Vocals
Jamie Manning, Arrangement, producer, audio engineer
UV Golibroda, Piano
Caroline Drozdiak, Violin

The Story Behind the Story

The idea for Song for Papa Crow was conceived when I helped one of my children with her school project on birds. When I found out that father crows take care of their offspring longer than most other birds, and that the whole flock would come to help a wounded crow, I just knew there was a classic story in those factual tidbits.

I asked myself, What would happen if a little crow was teased by the songbirds for his unique song? And, what if in his quest for friends he learned the other birds’ songs, but when he was in danger, his father wouldn’t recognize his song? I was also thinking about my children. Each one of them has his own special song.

The illustrations for my book came first. I drew the characters again and again. Little Crow visited different places, met different North American birds, and he tried hard to make friends. But in the end, Little Crow realized that that his father’s love and his family support are what really matter.



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Marit Menzin A Note from the Author

When I was a baby, my three aunts came for a visit, and each brought with her a gift. One sang me a lullaby and she taught me her songs. The second one showed me a beautiful picture of the world. My third aunt told me a sweet fairytale and she hugged me with her words.

The moment that I could hold a crayon, I started doodling, and each picture came with a song. In my magical world, I looked for the first flowers that grew after the rain. I observed with wonder my puppies and kittens and other animals and creatures, including the humans around me. When I learned how to read, I couldn’t stop, and even as I grew older, I still looked eagerly for picture books, simply because I had to know exactly what the characters in the book looked like.

Later, I forgot about my aunts’ gifts. My dream was to be. . . an inventor. I studied chemistry and biology, and later computer science.

After my children were born, Curious George reminded me of my childhood curiosity, and The Very Hungry Caterpillar and My Mama Had a Dancing Heart brought back my passion for colors and words. Yes, this was when I remembered my giftsand became an inventor of books.

Biography

Marit Menzin's award-winning collages have been seen in galleries, magazines, and other publications. She has loved art since childhood, and Song for Papa Crow, her first picture book, combines her love of nature and art. Song for Papa Crow celebrates diversity, spring, birds, and caring fathers with colorful cut-paper illustrations and a moving narrative.

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School Visits Pre-K - 5

I would be delighted to visit your school, library, or after-school program. A typical visit may include a presentation and a complementary activity, but I will be glad to adjust my lesson plan to the needs of my audience.





Program Options


***Read-aloud of Song for Papa Crow, followed by questions and answers. An inspiring presentation on the process of making a children's picture book, from idea to outline, then moving on to story board, rough sketches and a mock-up, and finally, finished illustrations.


***A Collage workshop that will allow students to use their imagination and exercise visual thinking.


      Use different perspectives--a bird's eye view, and a worm's eye view to create the birds mentioned in the book.


      Make a tree collage using geometric shapes.


We use construction/tissue paper, paper plates, fabric, feathers, and just about anything that inspires our imagination.


***Listen to my song "Tune to Little Crow"which is a musical er-telling of Song for Papa Crow. You can listen to it at www.maritmenzin.com.


      Write a short poem about someone in your life who is always there for you.
      

      The song includes a repeated refrain. Have students re-write this line so that the other birds are including Little Crow and treating him like a friend.



      Divide the students into four groups and give each group a stanza to illustrate.

Fees


$200 per a 45 - 50 minutes presentation.


$180 per a 45 - 50 minutes for at least two hours of presentation.




Materials


I need a digital projector, 2 easels, and a microphone.


During free time, I'm happy to sign books.






View Activity Guide

Reviews

"Menzin pays close attention to specific birds and their cries ("Per-CHIC-o-ree!" says the goldfinch), and her spreads reproduce the birds' defining features. Moments of inventiveness hint at a freer imagination: Mockingbird's concert is announced with a series of collaged posters, and the telephone wires are hot pink against a blue sky. Readers who live where many species visit the bird feeder may appreciate a story that incorporates familiar feathered characters."


- Publishers Weekly


"I love to read books to my children that are engaging, colorful, but most importantly, teaches them confidence and compassion. This book does that and much more. I am so happy that all my sons loved this story, even the older ones, and they were able to see the beauty in Little Crow, inside and out. Papa Crow is very supportive of his baby crow and is a good example for parents to see the differences in their "little crows" and celebrate them."


- Amy Sanders, Super Reading Kids


"Song for Papa Crow is a beautiful book, with thick pages for the younger kids, interesting bird facts, and a good story..."


"Teachers, school social workers, and others who regularly work with kids will find this book immensely helpful. Parents can use the story to open a dialogue about fitting in and being true to one's self. Kids will like the illustrations of the birds and can use the book as a guide to the birds in their neighborhood…[A book] for collectors."


- Sue Morris, Kid Lit Reviews


"Our songs are to be shared with all, but especially the ones we hold dear. Song for Papa Crow is a children's picture book following Little Crow as he tries to learn more songs to fit in with the other birds, but soon learns that the song most important to him and his father is his own. Song for Papa Crow is a story of being yourself, with charming and colorful illustrations throughout, making it a choice pick for parents to read along with their children."


- James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief, Diane C. Donovan, Editor Midwest Book Review


"In this twist on Hans Christian Anderson's Ugly Duckling, Little Crow wants to sing with the other birds but they think his "Caw Caw" is loud and coarse. They fly away when he comes to sing with them. Papa crow reassures Little Crow by saying that he knows just where to find Little Crow when he hears his sweet caw. They attend a Mockingbird show and the star gives the Little Crow a Magic Seed so he can sing like the other birds. Things go well for a while and then—well, Little Crow finds out that being a Crow and singing with his family of crows is the best thing in the world!


I loved the illustrations in this book. Each page is a collage of textured and decorated papers featuring trees and flowers as a backdrop for the birds of the story; in addition to crows there are chickadees, owls, [and] Blue Jays, and the cardinal, my personal favorite, is particularly expressive. The collages reinforce the story by giving the birds emotion. You can see the joy in Little Crow's heart when he closes his eyes and finally gets to sing with the other birds and you can see the panic when danger calls.


Song for Papa Crow is a sweet story with a relevant message for bird lovers of all ages. Nobody loves you like your family."


- Beth E. McKenzie, My Shelf


"The illustrations of this book are done in collage. Each bird comes to life with this technique and each one looks amazingly realistic. The story is one that is entertaining and easy to understand. It's one that can provide lots of discussion, not only about the various birds in the story, but about being oneself. The story ends with Little Crow learning an important lesson and returning safely home with Papa Crow. Children will be fascinated to learn that hummingbirds often use the silk of a spider's web when building a nest."


- Cindi Rose, Examiner


"This is a great story to read to children in order to help them accept and appreciate who they are and their own uniqueness as a person. It emphasizes that we are created with a purpose into our own family and families have their own way of communicating. I wanted this book to read for Halloween, but it is so much more than just a story about crows. The collage illustrations are great, the information is interesting and educational and the story is just plain good. I recommend this as a great book to emphasize the uniqueness of individuals."

- The Friendly Booknook blog

Read More Reviews

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