Graphic Novel Review: Crows: Genius Birds (Science Comics) by Kyla Vandreklugt

Crows: Genius Birds (Science Comics) by Kyla Vandreklugt. First Second, 2020. 9781626728028. 122pp. including a glossary, a short comic on living with crows, and a list of books and articles on crows.

This graphic novel in First Second’s Science Comics series grabbed my interest from the beginning — six crows team up to get Buddy, a very happy and gullible dog, out of his yard, and then use tools to open his dog door to get access to his food. As Buddy and his American crow “friend” head out into the world together, the crow explains the family Corvidae and how relatively big and neuron-dense crows’ brains are. As they continue to explore, it explains the superiority of crows with both scientific and real-world examples. It’s nicely done and the illustrations (which include some cartoonish medical diagrams and the like) really seem to be part of the conversation.

I have to admit that part of the reason I loved this book so much is personal. Every year, the crows in my neighborhood dive-bomb my wife but not me. (Years ago and miles away, this problem started when she got too close to a fledgling crow in our yard. I already knew that crows can remember individuals and communicate with one another about them, but that’s covered nicely in this book, too.) Plus this is a great readalike for Kira Jane Buxton’s Hollow Kingdom, a funny, apocalyptic novel set partially in my neighborhood in Seattle, narrated by a very smart-assed crow who is trying to save a very dumb dog from being eaten.



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