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Scragpie by Chris Shelton and Grant Schofield

four stars

scragThe children’s picture book Scragpie is a rhyming narrative about a young magpie who never gives up, written by Christ Shelton and illustrated by Grant Schofield. The story opens with the baby bird wet, cold, and scared after falling out of its nest. The unnamed human narrator finds the bird and brings it back home, sheltering it from the cold and providing it with a makeshift nest out of household items. The bird gets its name since it’s such a scraggly little thing, often losing feathers and clumsily walking across the kitchen floors with no grace. Eventually the bird is able to more easily walk and run, but then the real challenge of flying comes. Scragpie really wants to fly, but she has to put a lot of effort into it, practicing again and again, and eventually even leaving the ground, but just for a little while before crashing back down. Scragpie may like being outside to try her wings at flying, but she also enjoys being inside with her family and the other pets as is explained as the story comes to an end.

This is a well-crafted illustrated story that shows young children that it is important to persist and never give up on something you really want, no matter how hard it may seem. It shows that persistence and practice are important qualities to have. The rhyming narration flows well and creates a nice bounce to the plot as you flip from one page to the next. Schofield’s illustrations are well done and bring the story of Scragpie to colorful life. Since the narrator is clearly the person who found the bird, it would have been nice to bring them more directly into the story and get a sense of their identity, but this is left a mystery, the sole focus of the story on the bird, which is perhaps the author’s intent. Although the back of the book explains that the story of Scragpie is based on a true story, some readers may miss this fact since it is not directly incorporated into the story. Nevertheless, they will be sure to enjoy the entertaining tale Shelton tells them.

To purchase a copy of the book, click here to find it on Amazon.