The Scarecrow

by Beth Ferry (Author) The Fan Brothers (Illustrator)

The Scarecrow
Reading Level: K − 1st Grade
"An emotionally impactful exploration of love and loneliness, this is an essential addition to any picture book collection." --School Library Journal (starred review)

Bestselling author Beth Ferry (Stick and Stone) and the widely acclaimed Fan Brothers (The Night Gardener) present a gorgeous and poignant picture book about two unexpected friends and the special connection they share.

This tender and affectionate story reminds us of the comforting power of friendship and the joy of helping others--a tale that will inspire and delight children for generations to come.

All the animals know not to mess with old Scarecrow. But when a small, scared crow falls from midair, Scarecrow does the strangest thing.... He saves the tiny baby crow.

Soon a loving bond grows between the two unlikely friends. But is it strong enough to weather the changing of the seasons?

"A welcome addition to autumnal storytelling."--Kirkus

"A novel twist on the theme of love between adversaries." --Publishers Weekly

"A beautifully crafted picture book." --Booklist

  • A Junior Library Guild Selection
  • An Indie Next List Pick
  • An Amazon Best 3-5 Books of 2019 Selection

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Publishers Weekly

"Scarecrow stands alone and scares/ the fox and deer,/ the mice and crows," Ferry (Ten Rules of the Birthday Wish) begins in sturdy verse. "It's all he does. It's all he knows." Drawn by the Fan Brothers (The Antlered Ship), the scarecrow's burlap face and blank expression are startlingly realistic. One day, a nestling drops from the tree above him, and the scarecrow does something unexpected: "He snaps his pole,/ bends down low,/ saves the tiny baby crow." He encircles it in its arms of straw and perches it on his breast; the lonely scarecrow needs a friend as much as the nestling needs him. Over the spring and summer, the two become inseparable--they're shown in dramatic silhouette against a summer moon, fireflies blinking nearby. In the autumn, the crow flies away, and the Scarecrow's sewn-on smile turns upside down--but spring brings his friend back, and new life arrives. Though the story's arc is predictable, Ferry's tale is a novel twist on the theme of love between adversaries, while the Fan Brothers' finely worked art grounds the story in the movement of the seasons. Ages 4-8. Author's agent: Elena Giovinazzo, Pippin Properties. Illustrators' agent: Kirsten Hall, Catbird Productions. (Sept.)

Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

School Library Journal

Starred Review

PreS-Gr 3—Scarecrow has a job to do—guard the field. He's good at his job. The animals don't come near. His success is lonely though, until one day a baby crow falls from the sky. Scarecrow must decide whether to guard the field or take pity on the tiny lost bird. Scarecrow's very human desire for companionship wins out as he gently nestles the baby against his straw heart, starting a journey from solitary custodian to much-loved protector. The story shows that family and friends can be found in unexpected ways and surprising places. While the lyrical text paints a lovely tale (providing examples of alliteration and rhyme), the Fan Brothers' marvelous illustrations elevate it to something magical. It's amazing to watch the play of emotions over a simple, painted, burlap face. It's impossible not to feel despair, longing, and love along with Scarecrow. From the desolate paleness of winter to the pastel palette of spring, the depth of the landscapes help readers feel the changing seasons as the story moves through the year. Mostly, it feels like a wonderful celebration of fall as the glowing warmth of autumn wheat unites the story from its melancholy beginning to its jubilant conclusion. VERDICT An emotionally impactful exploration of love and loneliness, this is an essential addition to any picture book collection.—Alyssa Annico, Youngstown State University, OH

Copyright 2019 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

"A welcome addition to autumnal storytelling."—Kirkus Reviews
Beth Ferry
Beth Ferry is the author of many books for young readers, including Caveboy Crush, The Scarecrow, and the New York Times-bestselling Stick and Stone. She lives in New Jersey with her family. Gergely Dudás is a self-taught illustrator best known for his seek-and-find-style web comics. You can find his work on Instagram at @thedudolf. He lives in Budapest.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Publication date
September 20, 2019

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