“The Only Blue Crow” is about a little blue bird who loves his home and his life until he comes across some neighboring black crows who mock the protagonist for being different. Fearing that he may be alone in the world, he spins his wheels trying to find connection in other blue things in the meadow where he lives. Eventually, he encounters a wise owl who encourages him to leave his home in search of other blue birds. The blue crow embarks on his journey to find a beautiful town full of all sorts of blue things, learning in the process that he just might not be alone after all.
“The Only Blue Crow” is a book about feeling alienated. Despite its prose reading a bit densely for its target audience, Pere attempts to communicate a powerful theme worth sharing. The central message of the book is that just because you are different, it does not mean you are alone in the world. The most powerful example of the book’s message is found in its opening establishment of the blue crow’s beauty, communicated by Flores’s illustration, and his contentedness with life before learning he was different at all. Not without some loneliness, it is only once he is ridiculed for being blue that he begins to truly feel alienated. This inclusion helps to teach children that the adversity they may face for being different has more to do with their bullies than it does with them, while the story’s arc encourages them to choose curiosity and expand their horizons to find connection in the world. The story is a compelling one.
Flores’s dreary but astounding artwork similarly seems to just miss its target audience with a dark, Burtonesque style that may turn parents off despite their rich, tone-appropriate contribution to the narrative. Her contrast between melancholic landscapes and bursts of colorful life are a brilliant addition and, quite possibly, the book’s standout feature. Pere again offers parents a way to touch on difficult topics with their children by balancing the traditional elements of a feel-good children’s story with somewhat mature thematic subject matter. Although this story does not translate as well as some of Pere’s other work, there is still something to be said for her ability to depict sensitive material in a way that is both honest and accessible to younger audiences. Pere writes a character that everyone can connect with — children and parents alike.
“The Only Blue Crow” asks for some work on the part of parents but presents itself as a viable resource with a valuable lesson; if you feel prepared for the task, it is a great read that can help you teach your children to love themselves and choose curiosity.