The Crow Who Feared a Popgun

In honour and memory of our inspirational, hugely talented – and complex – mother Audrey, her ashes now safely stored under our Sheringham stairs awaiting Lifeboat dispersal at sea next month, here’s posting a scanned and carefully edited copy of possibly the most influential book I have ever read, or had read to me.

Conceived, written and illustrated by Mum somewhere in the early-to-mid 1950s, The Crow Who Feared a Popgun tells the story of little Mark and next-brother-down Hugh on an airborne adventure to Africa.

Rediscovered while clearing our mother’s house, the story is very probably the reason I continue to adore crows, ravens, jackdaws, magpies and rooks. It could explain how I was inspired to spend much of my life travelling the world, though rather less so recently given the impact on us all of a different kind of Co(r)vid.

Looking at the dynamic between these two little boys illustrated and encouraged by Mum (“How kind Mark is to hold your hand…”), and with a psychotherapist’s later-life perspective, I can also appreciate perhaps more clearly the roots of my younger siblings’ occasional complaints against me of “Big-Brotheritis”…

Feel free to print, to read to your own kids, and as we were to be inspired.

2 responses to “The Crow Who Feared a Popgun”

  1. Lovely story and illustration:) What’s the age gap between Mark and Hugh? As the younger boy’s image is much smaller compared with the bigger one.
    In traditional Chinese paintings, the size of a person’s image normally represents the importance of that individual.


  2. It’s actually just 18 months between us, Anya, though as you say, the two figures look much further apart in age. Makes me wonder when Mum actually drew this book. I look about seven, which would place it around 1957, and Hugh about two, which would mean 1953-54. No longer possible to check with the author!


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