Science Comics: Crows: Genius Birds
Science Comics: Crows: Genius Birds by Kyla Vanderklugt offers amazing insight into just how intelligent these birds are. That’s why I love this series: I had no idea about any of these facts before reading, and now I am fascinated by corvids (crows, magpies, jays, and ravens).
Vanderklugt beautifully navigates between drawing the bird as a bird and giving it the personality it needs to attract the reader and keep them interested. The crow gets a dog, Buddy, to help find food in trash cans and elsewhere, and the artist does a terrific job with Buddy’s body language as well. I could see his energy, his friendliness, and his ability to be easily distracted.
Crows are smart enough to use tools, remember where to find food, and open gates. As Buddy and the crow search for treats, we learn about the scientific names of the birds, brain anatomy (explaining the smarts), what they eat as omnivores, and how they use their color vision and memories.
All of this is woven in naturally as the crow talks to Buddy (who is adorable in his lack of awareness and good attitude, everything you want in a dog). And it’s fascinating! Experiments showed that crows roughly matched the ability of five-year-old children in reasoning tasks. Crows have figured out how to use cars as giant nutcrackers and use crosswalk signs to avoid traffic. They’ve demonstrated that they have imaginations and can be devious when it comes to protecting their food caches. They play games and can mimic other noises and voices. Plus, they mate for life and help each other raise the young. It’s amazing!
Science Comics: Crows is one of the best of this series. It’s everything a non-fiction graphic novel should be: informative, attractive, well-drawn, and fun to read!
There are preview pages at the publisher’s website. (The publisher provided a digital review copy.)