Charlie’s Raven

Our rating: ***½

Charlie loves to spend time with his naturalist grandfather. But his grandfather, now handicapped, is ailing, and Charlie is desperate to find something that will make Grandfather better. He remembers an old Indian tale about ravens being healing birds and decides to catch a raven chick. The young raven soon becomes part of the family, providing Grandfather and Charlie plenty to study and enjoy.

This is a great book for learning more about ravens—the different calls they use, various odd behaviors, their body language, and so on. The story is well written and engaging, to say the least. (I sat on the floor by the bookshelf and read the first half without getting up!) The only problem is that Indian myths and mysticism are predominant. Now, ravens being healing birds is shown to not be accurate, but there are still multiple references to ravens having supernatural powers. Charlie’s good friend Singing Bird is an Indian, and her family likes to demonstrate the old ways so people can see what they were like. I just wish they would differentiate a little more between showing what it was like and actually believing it. Enjoy with care.


Our rating: ****½

Young Bisky the mouse and his friends at Redwall are determined to find the four great jewels that were hidden long ago by Gonff, the prince of thieves. Unfortunately, this treasure is also sought after by the raven Korvus Skurr and his hoard of sinister Doomwytes. Solving riddles, braving danger, and meeting many allies along the way, the Redwallers may still be up against more than they bargained for.

I must admit I didn’t go into Doomwyte expecting much. However, I ended up pleasantly surprised. Several funny moments, some riddles, plenty of adventure, and a new sort of villainous threat. I think what really pulled it off for me, though, is the lack of character stereotypes. After so many books in the series, there starts to be almost a standard for “the abbot character,” “the hero character,” and so on. But this one felt fresh and different, while still keeping in the same general feel as the other books. I’d say Doomwyte is worthy to sit on the shelf with the rest of the Redwall series.