Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 5 to 9
- Grade: k to 4
Charles is a classic story about a lost crow who finds a home in a young person's heart.
This is his story, and the story of his rescuer, intermixed with the story of some strawberries they shared. At times funny and whimsical, it is also a story of the power of the natural world and the ties of love that are never broken.
Jessica Bartram's classic illustrations amply reflect the grace and timelessness of this tale.
About the authors
Stephen Hume was raised in fishing, farming and logging communities across Alberta and BC and studied at the University of Victoria. A journalist for over 35 years, Hume was editor-in-chief at the Edmonton Journal before moving to BC to become columnist and feature writer for the Vancouver Sun. He has won more than a dozen awards for his poetry, essays and journalism, including the Writers Guild of Alberta Literary Award, the Southam President's Award and the Marjorie Nichols Memorial Award. Stephen became the first Canadian to win the Dolly Connelly prize for environmental writing. His other books include Raincoast Chronicles 20: Lilies and Fireweed, Bush Telegraph and Off the Map, which was shortlisted for a Roderick Haig-Brown Regional Book Prize. He currently teaches professional writing at the University of Victoria.
Jessica Bromley Bartram
is an illustrator, graphic designer, and embroidery enthusiast who lives in Ottawa. She has a BA hon. in English from the University of Guelph and a second Bachelor's degree in Graphic Design from the Ontario College of Art & Design. Visit Jessica's web site at jessicabartram.ca.
"Hume delivers a tender story about raising an abandoned baby crow. The narrator lives in a home surrounded by the natural world, brought to lush life by Bartram's enchanting, accurate illustrations (baby crows do have blue eyes), which are done in a rich, nature-hued palette and feature simple shapes decorated with patterns found in nature. The shapes and patterns against the white space of the page thoughtfully integrate the story's theme by bringing attention to nature's inherent order and harmony. . . Quiet words combine with accurate, well-designed illustrations to create a full, lush picture book about caring and being close to nature."
— Kirkus Reviews
"An utterly charming and beautifully illustrated picture book entertainment for children ages 8 to 12, Charles by the team of author S. E. Hume and illustrator Jessica Bromley Bartram is an especially commended addition to family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections."
"This is a lovely story about the joys of helping a wild creature. . . Jessica Bromley Bartram's watermedia illustrations do an excellent job of showcasing the colours and patterns of nature. There is a lot of detail put into these images, with every tree, plant, and object decorated with spores, veins, and other small touches of design. With a soft palette largely compromised of blue, green, brown, and yellow, the images evoke the lively beauty of the natural world. The text of Charles is short and simple, making the tale accessible for younger audiences, while the themes of nature, nurture, and friendship can be explored by younger and older readers alike. With its sweet ending and engaging illustrations, Charles is a good choice for fans of nature stories and tales of the caring bond friends can share.
— CM Magazine
"Charles is a sensitive book with quiet appeal and would be especially appropriate for children who are interested in birds and caring for them. The language is simple and direct, and the message about respect for nature is very clear.
"Jessica Bartram's highly accurate illustrations (yes, baby crows do have blue eyes) are an excellent counterpoint to the text. She uses a nature-hued palette and embellishes her shapes with patterns from the natural world. The shapes and patterns reinforce harmonies that naturally exist, often appearing in attractive repetitions.
"This is a singular kind of book which will really be liked by some children, and definitely has a place in any primary school library collection."
— Resource Links
Other titles by Stephen Hume
A Walk with the Rainy Sisters
In Praise of British Columbia's Places
Early in the Season
A British Columbia Journal
In Search of Modern British Columbia
A Stain Upon the Sea
West Coast Salmon Farming
Raincoast Chronicles 20: Lilies and Fireweed
Frontier Women of British Columbia
Off the Map
Western Travels on Roads Less Taken
British Columbia's Cattle Country
Discovering the Pacific Province
Seasonal splendors of the North American West