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Crow Smarts: Inside the Brain of the World’s Brightest Bird

By: Pamela S. Turner

Illustrator: Andy Comins

What does the crow know and what does it tell us about brain size, the evolution of intelligence, and which is the smartest creature on the planet? “Ask the Author” section. Selected bibliography. Index. Full-color map, illustrations, and photographs.

ISBN: 9780544416192

JLG Release: Sep 2016


Sensitive Areas: None
Topics: Crows , Behavior , Animal intelligence , Animal behavior , New Caledonia , South Pacific , Science , Scientific research

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Awards & Honors

2017 AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prize Finalist, Middle Grades
The Nonfiction Detectives, 2016 Best Nonfiction Books for Children

Praise & Reviews

Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:

Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, Booklist, The Horn Book Magazine*, Kirkus Reviews, School Library Journal*

School Library Journal

[STARRED REVIEW]
This title takes readers to New Caledonia, where, as Turner puts it, “the forests are lush and the crows are geniuses.” Comins’s photos supply ample evidence of both. Under the guidance of crow researcher Gavin Hunt, expeditions to the island’s wilds provide opportunities to watch the local specie
[STARRED REVIEW]
This title takes readers to New Caledonia, where, as Turner puts it, “the forests are lush and the crows are geniuses.” Comins’s photos supply ample evidence of both. Under the guidance of crow researcher Gavin Hunt, expeditions to the island’s wilds provide opportunities to watch the local species of crow display the astonishing ability not only to use found sticks to dig grubs from logs but also to make their own hooked tools from twigs or the jagged leaves of the pandanus—and to train a juvenile crow in the technique. Then later, under controlled conditions in a lab, captive crows (which are carefully returned to their home territories afterward) beat out groups of four- to seven-year-old children in performing feats of mental activity to get at an inaccessible treat. The author also surveys tool use by other wild animals, from chimps to crocodiles, and, with added art by de Filippo, compares the structures of crow and human brains. She closes with more anecdotes about corvid intelligence and leads to further information. VERDICT Required reading for anyone who believes that we are the only, or even the most, sapient species on the planet. Highly recommended for STEM and animal collections.—John Peters, Children’s Literature Consultant, New York City

Horn Book

[STARRED REVIEW]
Turner’s latest Scientists in the Field entry returns to the fascinating topic she explored in The Dolphins of Shark Bay (rev. 1/14): the behaviors of highly intelligent nonhuman animals that use tools. This time, the focus is on the super-smart New Caledonian crow. Many species of crows across the world ex
[STARRED REVIEW]
Turner’s latest Scientists in the Field entry returns to the fascinating topic she explored in The Dolphins of Shark Bay (rev. 1/14): the behaviors of highly intelligent nonhuman animals that use tools. This time, the focus is on the super-smart New Caledonian crow. Many species of crows across the world exhibit advanced behaviors, but this species of crow is one of the few animals that actually make their own tools. These crows bend sticks into hooks and shape pandanus-plant leaves into barbed probes, the better to gather grubs from crevices in rotting logs. Turner joins scientist Gavin Hunt in New Caledonia to learn about his research on crow problem-solving and the evolution of crow tool-making, and carefully steps readers through the inventive experiments that test and confirm the crows’ ability to think through complex tasks. Turner’s friendly, sometimes joking tone effortlessly moves from amusing accounts of crow antics to sophisticated explanations of crow and human evolution. Comins’s arresting photographs of the sleek black birds in the island landscapes of New Caledonia highlight their personalities and intelligence. In an appended Q&A section, readers can learn more about Turner’s volunteer work with American crows; the back matter also includes extensive resources for further learning and an index. danielle j. ford

Book Details

ISBN

9780544416192

First Release

September 2016

Genre

Nonfic

Dewey Classification

Trim Size

Page Count

80

Accelerated Reader

Level 6.2; Points: 2;

Scholastic Reading Counts

Level 7.3; Points: 6;

Lexile

Level 940L

Format

Print Book

Edition

Hardcover edition

Publisher

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Potentially Sensitive Areas

None

Topics

Crows, Behavior, Animal intelligence, Animal behavior, New Caledonia, South Pacific, Science, Scientific research,

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