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A Murder of Crows and Other Woes (English Is Complicated and Nearly Impossible Book 1)

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A story about a little girl who skips school to play with deadly dangerous animals! Children will love this colorful tale. Book one of "English Is Complicated and Nearly Impossible" mixes high level vocabulary with silly adventure. For children 8 to 108 years.


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A story about a little girl who skips school to play with deadly dangerous animals! Children will love this colorful tale. Book one of "English Is Complicated and Nearly Impossible" mixes high level vocabulary with silly adventure. For children 8 to 108 years.

30 review for A Murder of Crows and Other Woes (English Is Complicated and Nearly Impossible Book 1)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Dwayne Fry

    I'm no expert on children's books, but I likes what I likes. The poetry was witty and lively, the illustrations charming. Delightful stuff.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Shelli

    Oh vey. I'll start with the good: the concept and plot of this book is great, really great! The story of a little girl having to explain to her dad in a letter (that it's her dad that's the one involved is even awesomely subversively feminist) that she's been absent from school for two weeks because she's being repeatedly thwarted on her way to school by some sort of herd of animals – of which we learn each one's taxonomic name in turn – is original, fun, silly, and educational. It has all the b Oh vey. I'll start with the good: the concept and plot of this book is great, really great! The story of a little girl having to explain to her dad in a letter (that it's her dad that's the one involved is even awesomely subversively feminist) that she's been absent from school for two weeks because she's being repeatedly thwarted on her way to school by some sort of herd of animals – of which we learn each one's taxonomic name in turn – is original, fun, silly, and educational. It has all the basic ingredients for a perfect children's story. However… and this is a huge however… It is barely in a state that could even be considered a rough draft. I'm not sure if the illustrations are by different people, but they are wildly inconsistent in style and media, on a stark white background with (often) poor composition, and are very sloppy – in some cases they're obviously incomplete, with neglected parts sketched in pencil but left uninked/colored. Rough guidelines were never erased, and on most pages there are very sloppy pencil lines obviously drawn for layout purposes to estimate where the text should go, but then just left there. Some pages look like elements were physically cut out of a separate sheet of paper and glued on. I have tidier doodle sketchbooks; it's really a mess. The text was also occasionally formatted funky, and on one page, changes fonts entirely (the original one was a poor choice to begin with, too ornate for young readers). But the biggest problem of all is not how the text was laid out, but how the words were. If one is going to attempt poetry in rhyming couplets like this, one needs at least a passing familiarity with iambic pentameter. These were just random lines of text, with no regard to meter or length, where the last word of every other line just happened to rhyme. It had no flow whatsoever, which would sound awkward and clunky to even the smallest child. I hate to trash this book, because like I said, the author's idea was so clever. If she were to standardize her illustrations (digital OR crayon & ink OR magic marker OR colored pencils OR graphite OR felt-tip OR pencil, but not ALL of them) and make them bold and clean, as well as re-write the text to be in actual, proper verse, I think this could really be a winner.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    I received this children's book in a First Reads giveaway. Since I'm not claiming to be a children's book expert, I asked two of my grandkids, aged 7 and 13, to read it too, and while they deemed it cute, I don't think it is a book they'll remember. What is good about it was that it taught them the strange names assigned to groups of different animals (ex.: a clutter of spiders, scourge of mosquitoes, tower of giraffes, etc., including the title), but the rhymes were, in my opinion, awkward at t I received this children's book in a First Reads giveaway. Since I'm not claiming to be a children's book expert, I asked two of my grandkids, aged 7 and 13, to read it too, and while they deemed it cute, I don't think it is a book they'll remember. What is good about it was that it taught them the strange names assigned to groups of different animals (ex.: a clutter of spiders, scourge of mosquitoes, tower of giraffes, etc., including the title), but the rhymes were, in my opinion, awkward at times, and the illustrations kind of sloppy. Good concept, but a bit lacking in presentation. Three stars for encouragement to the author.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Meredith

    I received this through a Goodreads giveaway. Such a cute story. A poem book for kids, the poems tell of a girl trying to get to school but always stopped by a group of animals. The author uses the scientific names of the animals so the child learns while being entertained. The illustrations match the poems wonderfully. A cute addition to any child's library.

  5. 5 out of 5

    ˗ˏˋ maddie ˊˎ˗

    I won this through a Goodreads giveaway. The meat of this, the story itself, is strong - it could use a little work on a few of the stanzas but the majority of it is good, finished product. But it's so shoddily put together, the illustration and text placement so inconsistent and haphazard that it made it impossible to enjoy.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Mary Beth

    Darling little middle school aged book telling the story of why a young girl missed school for two weeks while making every effort to attend. Opens the door to the wonderful English concept of collective nouns in a fun rhyming story. Fanciful illustrations and even more fanciful description of why school was missed! A fun book for all ages. Should inspire further investigation of odd collective nouns for all readers. I won this book in a Goodreads Giveaway.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Michele

    I received this book as a Good reads giveaway. A Murder of Crows and Other Woes is an adorable children's book by Shaoshanah Lee Marohn. The subject matter is looking at the collective form of animal communities. For instance, a group of spiders is called a clutter; a group of toads is called a knot; and many other examples are given in this story of why and how a little girl missed school. I enjoyed this rhyming book and even learned a knew group or two along the way.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Carol

    The back cover of this book says "best for ages 8 to 108" and I heartily agree! This book is clever and the illustrations are quirky. It would be a great book for younger middle school children, particularly if they are interested in vocabulary and language. It works in the unusual names for groups of animals (as in the title). This is the author's first children's book--she should keep at it. I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Samantha Dragon

    I won this book on first reads. I didn't know it was a picture book and I don't have any kids, so I gave it to a friends kids (they seemed to like it). I thought that this picture book was weird. I don't have anything against weird, and I thought it was cute. It seemed like it's trying to teach children what the names of groups of animals are but I'm not sure that they are the right names. Is a group of crows really called a murder. Also kindof a morbid title for a picture book.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Shelley Thompson

    Clever rhyming picture book that hooked my 7 year old son. The story describes the groups of animals (murder of crows, smack of jellyfish, clutter of spiders, tribe of goats...) that cause a little girl to miss 2 weeks of school. Unique, educational, and fun way to learn about animal names. Would be fun to read aloud to a group of kids.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jawknee

    I received this book through a Goodreads giveaway. The rhyming felt a little off in some places. But overall it was really well written. Cute story and cute illustrations. I was already familiar with a "murder" of crows. But all of the other animal groups were new to me. Who knew a group of giraffes is called a "tower"?

  12. 5 out of 5

    Shanna

    I received this book through a Goodreads giveaway. It's a quick read. I thought the story was different than other children's books I've read, and that made it interesting. I liked the rhyming aspect of it. The illustrations, in my opinion, were odd. They did add to the story, but didn't seem consistent.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Christine

    I thought this book was a pleasant story. The illustration of the child changed styles at times, but that gave the story a sort of campy charm. I'm a college graduate and I got to learn about what different groups of animals are named, for which I am nicely surprised. The rhyming scheme went wonky a couple of times as well, but nothing too majorly distracting. It was a good read overall.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Monique Pearson

    The artwork is awful. My daughter hated it and so did I. It's horrible to read because the rhymes have no rhythm. Some of the rhymes were an obvious stretch to find a rhyming word. Passing this along to another parent. Perhaps she'll like it better.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Carrell

    Cute story but the quality of the illustrations is not that great.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kendra

    It was ok, just not my cup of tea

  17. 5 out of 5

    Susan Walker

    Fun short story for kids with higher reading abilities. I liked the story of the little girl and all her adventures with animals. A fun read.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kristine

    I received this book from a goodreads giveaway I really enjoyed this book. I read it to my 4 year old grandson who laughed and enjoyed the story

  19. 4 out of 5

    Russell Howen

    "A Murder of Crows and Other Woes" is a reminder that our English is complicated and often impossible to know the meaning, spelling, and correct use of words.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Omar

  21. 5 out of 5

    Leslie

  22. 5 out of 5

    Shoshanah Marohn

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

  24. 5 out of 5

    Clary Elena

  25. 4 out of 5

    Phyllis Eledge

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jon

  27. 5 out of 5

    Staci

  28. 4 out of 5

    Marla

  29. 5 out of 5

    Sonya

  30. 5 out of 5

    Keely

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