Title: What the Raven Saw
Author: Samantha-Ellen Bound
Published: Random House February 2013
Status: Read from February 02 to 03, 2013 -I own a copy Courtesy Random House
“Some birds are made for greatness, and others have greatness thrust upon them. The raven was of both kinds, which meant that his capacity for greatness was huge.”
From his home in a partially collapsed church steeple, the Raven watches the comings and goings of the parishioners, graveyard ghosts and priest. Convinced of his own self importance and superiority, he passes judgement, rarely interacting with the world at his feet. On occasion the Raven descends to the rafters of the church to warble along with the hymns and once the church is empty to sing, for he understands every word of human speech. While the Raven is content to simply observe the world, hoarding treasure and dining on tasty bugs, he is reluctantly drawn into the church’s activity – assisting a ghost to reach out to his grieving sister, rescuing a suicidal man, and catching a collection plate thief.
This unusual, charming novel from debut author Samantha-Ellen Bound is essentially a children’s fable, a story that explores the importance of friendship and of helping others when it is within your means to do so.
I thought the characterisation was impressive, the Raven’s self importance, the pigeon’s scattered thoughts and the scarecrow’s loneliness are believable. I enjoyed the humour of Raven’s grumpy sarcasm and the Weatherhen’s cheekiness and the way in which the author distinguishes between each character with dialogue. This is a well written story that impressed me, despite not being something I would usually choose to read.
What the Raven Saw is a lovely story aimed at the childrens audience and one that could be well utilised for classroom teaching in the later primary grades. I think it also has great potential as an abridged illustrated children’s book.