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The Crow-Girl: The Children of Crow Cove (The Children of Crow Cove #1)

3.77  ·  Rating Details ·  553 Ratings  ·  126 Reviews
A timeless novel about the kindness of strangers

Near a little cove where a brook runs out to the sea live a girl and her grandmother. All alone with no neighbors at all, the two lead a peaceful existence. They have a house, dine on sea kale and mussels and sand snails, and build fires from driftwood. But the grandmother is very old. When the time comes that the girl must b
Hardcover, 155 pages
Published May 11th 2004 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published 1993)
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What I have always (and perhaps even rather most) enjoyed with regard to Bodil Bredsdorff's evocative and emotionally dense The Crow Girl is the caressing and almost entrancing writing style. The velocity, the rhythm and cadence of the narrative, strongly reminds one of the ocean, its waves and tides, not really all that surprising, as for all intents and purposes The Crow Girl is a novel of the sea and by the sea (there concurrently also exists an equal and rather pleasantly surprising sense of ...more
Lisa Vegan
Jun 23, 2010 Lisa Vegan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: readers who aren’t overly sensitive to grief and sadness and deprivation and loneliness
This is a lovely little story; it almost feels like a philosophy book, and it’s very poetically told. There are some deep messages here that are given as a genuine part of the story, and they’re very meaningful. While I can’t read it in its original Danish, the translation seems to be excellent.

Thank goodness for some joy toward the end. It is a kids’ book so I was expecting it. Most of the book was dismally grim though. It was bone chillingly depressing for quite a long time, and I think it wou
Jun 23, 2010 Kathryn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Kathryn by: Children's Book Group--International Club Read
This lovely story is the first of popular Danish author Bodil Bresdorff's to be translated in to English and printed in America. Lucky us! I really enjoy reading about other cultures--and the underlying humanity that is so very much the same no matter what--and this book delivers.

I was actually surprised by how somber much of the story is. I expected that, after the (expected) grandmother's death, things would improve for the Crow-Girl. But, her journey is filled with as many nasty snags and sor
Another KEEPER!

Beautiful language and story.

Just before she dies, Crow-girl's grandma gives her three rules for life.

1) "You will find two kinds of people in the world. Some say there are the bad and the good. But it isn't like that. Since what is good for one may be bad for another. No, that doesn't work. You have to depend on your intuition. There are those who make you feel inside as if you are drinking a good, warm soup--even if you are hungry and the two of you have nothing to eat. In sp
I loved every word of this story - it seems that the translation into English has been extremely well done. It is a story of hope and perseverence in a time of great hardship and pain. The young girl's perseverance and hope help her overcome one obstacle after another until finally her hopes and wishes are fulfilled.

The book starts with three life lessons passed down from a grandmother to her granddaughter, and then we see each one played out in the story that follows. It is more than a story of
Sep 28, 2010 Chrissie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Chrissie by: Manybooks
This YA book did not work for me. There was a lot of talk about the Crow-Girl books by the Norwegian author Bodil Bredsdorff in the Comfort Reads Group of which I am a member here at GR. There is an overall gloom that I did not enjoy. I am NOT one to shy away from a book that focuses on "difficult times". It is not enough for me that a story ends on a positive note. No, I even prefer a novel that ends half-way happy as long as the passage through the book isn't dismal and provides a chuckle or a ...more
Oct 28, 2011 Margaret rated it really liked it
Shelves: international
Batchelder Honor 2005

The Crow-Girl is about an unnamed girl who lives with her grandmother. The grandmother warns the girl that she will die soon and how to know when that happens. She then tells her that people have both good and bad inside and you have to see if it is the right goodness for you. When her grandmother dies, the girl sets out. She first finds a woman who wants her to work for her and then wants to take all her things, but she escapes one night. Then, she finds a man and a toddler
Apr 27, 2014 Beverly rated it really liked it
Shelves: j-fiction
A sweet, quiet story of an orphaned girl who finds her way in the world and a new family. The writing is simple but elegant, and the story moves along at a good pace. The characters are well-rounded. At first, I thought that the author must hate men, because of the wicked stepfather and the man who abandoned his young son to a stranger (the Crow Girl). Fortunately she was a good person and cared for the little boy. I don't know if Norwegians are weak people or what, but I thought that this fathe ...more
Jun 22, 2010 Melody rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Melody by: Darsa M.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 01, 2016 Jaime rated it liked it
Shelves: international
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mary Hoch
Oct 31, 2011 Mary Hoch rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1international
This story takes place near a quiet cove, where 3 small houses sit, 2 of which are empty. In the only occupied house lives a young girl and her sick grandmother. Following her grandmother's passing and as a result of her loneliness and desperation, the girl leaves her home. She meets a woman, who takes her in and feeds her, but then treats her as a slave; and when she discovers the woman’s intention of taking her home, she leaves. She lets the crows lead her on her journey, where she encounters ...more
Anne Slater
Aug 16, 2014 Anne Slater rated it it was amazing
Did you ever pick a book for the cover and title and actually find a treasure? This is one of those books, originally published in Denmark, and only translated and published in the US in 2004.

Crow-Girl lives a meager but happy life with her very elderly grandmother on a distant cove of a Scandinavian country on the east side(I'm guessing) of the North Sea.

At the outset, grandmother, dying, is teaching Crow-Girl the three great lessons of life. Her final one:
"There are two kinds of people... Ther
Apr 29, 2008 Emily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Summary(CIP): after the deathe of her grandmother, an orphaned young girl leaves her house by the cove and begins a journey which leads her to people and eperiences that exemplify the wisdom her grandmother had shared with her.

Review: This story is a great survival story in so many ways. It deals with both physical and emotional survival. The advice given by the grandmother is honest and rings true and then is reflects in the story. The Crow-girl learns that people are neither good or bad, what
Mar 07, 2015 Caren rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children
This story feels very old, almost like a saga. It was translated from Danish and takes place along the coast of Denmark. It is the coming-of-age journey of "Crow-Girl", a name given her by a not very nice person after the girl realizes that her beloved and now dead grandmother only ever called her "Chick". That frail grandmother, with whom Crow-Girl lived in an isolated setting by the sea, tried to prepare her for life on her own, and indeed , Crow-Girl was very resourceful. After burying her gr ...more
Linda Lipko
Oct 31, 2012 Linda Lipko rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
This is an author who knows how to write! The images painted are poetic. As an old grandmother is dying she imparts wisdom to the grand daughter she loves. Living together on a rugged cove near the sea, when her grandmother dies, the young girl must bury her and seek others who can help her.

Remembering her grandmother's words regarding two kinds of people," those that make you feel good inside, and then those who cause you to freeze inside, even if you are sitting before a roaring fire and have
Feb 26, 2009 Emily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book had me spellbound. The lifestyle is so far removed from our own today that I just soaked up the details of scratching together a living with the bare necessities (gathering driftwood from the sea for their fire and mussels and kale for their ancient stews)just to maintain a meager livelihood. I must gravitate to stories of an orderly, simple life (as maybe I feel mine isn't?).

I loved the characters of the grandmother and granddaughter and the way they turned bleakness into beauty--the
Sep 29, 2010 Jenny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s-books
This is a lovely story translated from Danish about a little girl who lives alone after her grandmother dies. Her grandmother has taught her the most important lessons and she uses these to survive and to decide who to become close to and allow into her inner circle... soon she has a new, adopted "family" including darling "Doup". I love that the grandmother said that some people divide others into "good" and "bad" people but there are so many differing opinions on what makes someone good or bad ...more
The story of a pure heart. Crow-Girl goes searching for companionship after her grandmother's death, and finds it by trial and error, but also by listening in her heart to the tenets of "truth" her grandmother imparted to her before she died. Hopeful, but not saccharine. Lovely and simple, like a parable.
Nayeli Mendoza
Oct 12, 2016 Nayeli Mendoza rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is amazing...
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
An orphan living alone on an island looks for a new family.
Dezireen Austin
This is a charming, fairytale-like story of a young girl who, after losing her grandmother, goes on a journey of discovery. This story is ageless; the very young to the very old will enjoy this tale.

There is no real magic except in the lyrical prose of the author.

I had recently read a couple of disappointing novels, so this was a refreshing palate cleanser. It was not emotionally searing nor highly philosophical. It had the "porridge just right" feel of a good story to lift up your soul on a gr
Melody Austria
Jun 08, 2017 Melody Austria rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
read it. youll love every part of it...the crow girl made me felt the adventure and the importance of companion and friendship.
Dec 21, 2015 Amanda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
• Summarize the book

Crow Girl, the first in a series, is set in an unnamed seaside land and feels like it takes place in the middle ages. At the beginning of the book a girl with no name, early to mid adolescence, lives alone with her grandmother in a remote seaside cottage. They are poor but know how to keep themselves fed with mussels from the sea and other local foods. The grandmother is dying and in the opening chapters we hear her advising the girl on how to take care of herself after the

A captivating, somber, almost philosophical read. The image of a lonely cove's rocky shoreline, populated by only a few small, mostly empty, mostly ruined homes; some sea life; a girl; and her bed-ridden grandmother, set the tone of the book. Though the time and place (other than being coastal and boggy) are indistinct and vague, that never seemed to matter - the story was very timeless, and the mysteriousness seemed appropriate, considering the protagonist's ignorance of her own name. I would n

Sep 29, 2011 01AmandaL rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Crow Girl, By Bodli Bredsdorff.

This book is about a girl named Crow Girl, she is 13 years old and a very hard worker. Crow girl lived with her grandma in a very small old house, in the middle of nowhere. One day her grandmother passsed away and crow girl is by herself. She leaves her home and two crows lead her to different places and people.

Crow girl wanted to find someone who would take her in and take of her. Two crows lead her to a house with a man and wife. They let Crow girl in bu
Claudine Yanting
{A 4.5* for me.}

"The second rule says that the door to a person's heart can only be opened from within. If there is someone who will not let you in, it's no use hammering and kicking and lamenting and complaining. For what if the door is ajar, and you push it shut? With some people it can never be opened again."

We never get to find out her real name.

The girl - she lives near a cove, by a brook that runs out to sea, with her wise but ailing grandmother. They live secluded from the rest of the t
Jane G Meyer
Translated from the Danish, this story of a young girl who is tossed into hardship, but has the tools to survive and make good decisions is really lovely. The story is somehow soothing despite her struggles, and I think it comes from the simple setting and plot line that pulls the reader forward. I would LOVE to read this in Danish, but alas, all I can say is "tak" which I think, from my very short trip to Denmark a million years ago means, thank you...

(They thought I was Danish from my strawber
Oct 22, 2011 Elizabeth rated it really liked it
Shelves: mc-international
The Crow-Girl by Bodil Bredsdorff
The Crow-Girl by Bodil Bredsdorff is a Danish story of a young girl who faces the harshness of life with love and acceptance. The girl, who has no name, is left alone when her grandmother dies. Faced with the words of wisdom her grandmother has given her, Crow Girl, as she gets called, heads off to find her way in the world. As she travels, she meets people who are kind on the surface but dark underneath, people who have faced hardships much worse than her own, a
Beautifully written but I cannot imagine just any child reading this book - too profound for the modern American child. translated from Danish

From School Library Journal
Grade 4-7-Set in the indistinct past, this is the poignant story of a girl who lives with her grandmother on a lonely stretch of coast in Denmark. The two survive by collecting driftwood and carefully harvesting the gifts of the sea. The coziness of their life is punctuated by Grandmother's awareness that her own life is tenuous;
Judging from my less than extensive forays into Danish children's literature, I feel relatively confidant in the judgment that the Danes do not coddle their children like Americans do. Within the first few chapters of The Crow-Girl, the titular character's grandmother dies. The now-orphaned 'Crow-Girl' has to then bury grandma herself, and embark on a quest (for...well, there's really not much of a reason...she lives in the middle of nowhere, has no family, and some crows tell her to go on a jou ...more
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Bodil Bredsdorff is a popular Danish children’s book author.
More about Bodil Bredsdorff...

Other Books in the Series

The Children of Crow Cove (4 books)
  • Eidi: The Children of Crow Cove
  • Tink: The Children of Crow Cove
  • Alek: The Children of Crow Cove

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“You will find two kinds of people in the world. Some say that there are the bad and the good. But it isn’t like that. Since what is good for one may be bad for another. No, that doesn’t work. You have to depend on your intuition.

“There are those who make you feel inside as if you are drinking a good, warm soup – even if you are hungry and the two of you have nothing to eat. In spite of that they nourish you.

“And then there are those who cause you to freeze inside, even if you are sitting before a roaring fire and have eaten your fill. Those you should keep away from. They are not good for you, even though others might say that they are good people…”
More quotes…