Crow Girl

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Kate Cann
Barrington Stoke
Oct 2005
Lily is lonely; often bullied, at best ignored. She takes refuge in the nearby woods, finding solace with the crows that live there. Her visits to spooky clearings, her desire for cobwebby outfits and her growing ability to call the crows, give this title a gothic edge.

An avian theme runs throughout the book. No nonsense grandma, Grandy, says that Lily has been in �what I call �the ugly duckling phase��. The story charts Lily�s transformation from ugly duckling to dark swan � Crow Girl.

Having always comforted herself with chocolate, Lily has always been overweight. So walking in the woods, instead of past the sweet shop, makes her look better. Grandy teaches her the importance of posture and a well fitted bra. Add a little black dress and red lipstick and she�s a new woman.

In a world where glossy women�s magazines have teen versions (how they must rub their hands in glee � a whole new market of fashion and beauty consumers!) such a �makeover� is many a young girl�s dream.

However, I had reservations about this Trinny and Susannah style transformation. Like Andersen�s Ugly Duckling (which, incidentally, is not a traditional tale but one he made up himself) it seems to recommend changing outward appearance, suggesting that beauty is the ultimate goal.

Happily, Cann does redeem herself � her emphasis on walking tall and pushing your hair back from your face shows it really is all about attitude. Thank goodness she lets teenage girls in on the Big Secret: that being attractive is all about self-esteem. Lily starts to like herself. She grows in confidence, develops her creativity and stands up to the bullies.

Cann gets teenage concerns exactly right. That feeling of being misunderstood, undervalued, the burning need to �show them all�. Those who fantasise about their triumphant moment, when their true powers are unveiled and their tormentors stand in awe, will find Lily making her own fantasy into a reality inspiring stuff.

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This page contains a single entry by Dawn Casey published on December 7, 2005 11:03 AM.

House of Spies was the previous entry in this blog.

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