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What the Raven Saw

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Raven is having a rough day. All he wants to do is sit in his belltower, marvel over his treasures and revel in his own magnificence. But if it isn't pesky pigeons and beady-eyed weatherhens annoying him, it's those humans tramping about among his grave. Soon he's forced to deal with a man stuck up a tree, a lovesick scarecrow and an ancient ghost who doesn't understand his Raven is having a rough day. All he wants to do is sit in his belltower, marvel over his treasures and revel in his own magnificence. But if it isn't pesky pigeons and beady-eyed weatherhens annoying him, it's those humans tramping about among his grave. Soon he's forced to deal with a man stuck up a tree, a lovesick scarecrow and an ancient ghost who doesn't understand his job description. And re-unite a little girl with her dead brother. And uncover a thief. The list never ends for a raven of his pedigree. But perhaps the raven will find that all these types have got something to offer him. What the Raven Saw is a story about one cranky raven, one extraordinary churchyard and the songs that inhabit both.


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Raven is having a rough day. All he wants to do is sit in his belltower, marvel over his treasures and revel in his own magnificence. But if it isn't pesky pigeons and beady-eyed weatherhens annoying him, it's those humans tramping about among his grave. Soon he's forced to deal with a man stuck up a tree, a lovesick scarecrow and an ancient ghost who doesn't understand his Raven is having a rough day. All he wants to do is sit in his belltower, marvel over his treasures and revel in his own magnificence. But if it isn't pesky pigeons and beady-eyed weatherhens annoying him, it's those humans tramping about among his grave. Soon he's forced to deal with a man stuck up a tree, a lovesick scarecrow and an ancient ghost who doesn't understand his job description. And re-unite a little girl with her dead brother. And uncover a thief. The list never ends for a raven of his pedigree. But perhaps the raven will find that all these types have got something to offer him. What the Raven Saw is a story about one cranky raven, one extraordinary churchyard and the songs that inhabit both.

30 review for What the Raven Saw

  1. 4 out of 5

    Braiden

    Some birds are made for greatness, and others have greatness thrust upon them. The raven was of both kinds, which meant that his capacity for greatness was huge. Despite reassuring himself of this, the nerves in his stomach were relentless. Every second they seemed to find something else to have a nibble at. But it would be worth it. He was about to become one of the greatest corvids to fly the skies. Samantha-Ellen Bound’s children’s debut novel What the Raven Saw is a smart, witty, and inge Some birds are made for greatness, and others have greatness thrust upon them. The raven was of both kinds, which meant that his capacity for greatness was huge. Despite reassuring himself of this, the nerves in his stomach were relentless. Every second they seemed to find something else to have a nibble at. But it would be worth it. He was about to become one of the greatest corvids to fly the skies. Samantha-Ellen Bound’s children’s debut novel What the Raven Saw is a smart, witty, and ingenious story of showing what the underdogs of today are capable of, how the smallest beings we hold not much regard for can be the beings that hold the most promise in the end. What stands out the most is our protagonist, a raven who flies about the churchyard, proud to be the avian species he is, exhibiting his very nature of guarding his treasure with not much interest in socialising with any of the other – lesser – birds in the vicinity, like the weatherhen and the darned, annoying pigeon. That is until he sees things happening, until he comes across both residents and visitors to the church and its yard, that he evolves into an advisor, helping, changing, a friend to those that are lost, seeking or adapting to change themselves. The various characters that the raven meet throughout What the Raven Saw, of man, creature, or thing, make this story what it is. They are written with a sharp eye for characterisation. There’s Father Cadman of the church whose faith and hymns influence the raven’s ways. There’s Todd, the dead twelve-year-old boy who now wanders as a ghost, watching his sorrowful sister Mackenzie, wanting a way to communicate with her, for her to know that he is there. There’s the unhappy man high up in the tree who intends to jump off. There’s the scarecrow who longs for company and wants to be alone no more. There’s the old ghost who just wants peace and quiet and for people to stop trampling upon his grave. Lastly, there’s the parishioner turned thief who needs, if unknowingly, to be caught for his wrongdoings. And everyone of them will learn what a raven is able to achieve after all. Bound is surely a new children’s author to watch. What the Raven Saw reminded me of Roald Dahl’s works and other classic children’s books, with both the writing and the endearing characters the reasons why. There’s a timeless energy surrounding What the Raven Saw that may just make this book one that will be loved and remembered for many years to come. (And no, I’m not just saying this because I personally know Sam and, well, work with her; this book really is charming! Pick it up, pick it up, pick it up!)

  2. 4 out of 5

    Liza

    #9 a book with a titular character Quirky story centring on a raven who lives in a church belfry. He views himself as the pre-eminent bird in his piece of the world and avoids revealing to humans that he can speak although he does talk to the parish priest who sees him as the voice of God. There are a number of ghosts in the graveyard of the church including that of a recently buried boy. The raven comes to bring comfort to the boy's mourning sister, prevents a man from committing suicide and sto #9 a book with a titular character Quirky story centring on a raven who lives in a church belfry. He views himself as the pre-eminent bird in his piece of the world and avoids revealing to humans that he can speak although he does talk to the parish priest who sees him as the voice of God. There are a number of ghosts in the graveyard of the church including that of a recently buried boy. The raven comes to bring comfort to the boy's mourning sister, prevents a man from committing suicide and stops someone thieving from the church whilst maintaining a grumpy vain personality. Humorous with many literary allusions which could be an interesting way of discussing the novel. Enjoyable read.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Travis Berketa

    When I picked up the book and read a few pages I really began liking the character of the Raven; grumpy, but sophisticated, worldly, but also quite naive. The first few chapters introduced the Raven and the churchyard he calls home, which then had me wondering "How is a story going to unfold with a raven as a protagonist?" But unfold it did, into a wonderful little tale about a little raven that is in the process of finding himself while doing his best to avoid those that annoy him. We're introdu When I picked up the book and read a few pages I really began liking the character of the Raven; grumpy, but sophisticated, worldly, but also quite naive. The first few chapters introduced the Raven and the churchyard he calls home, which then had me wondering "How is a story going to unfold with a raven as a protagonist?" But unfold it did, into a wonderful little tale about a little raven that is in the process of finding himself while doing his best to avoid those that annoy him. We're introduced to some quirky characters, like the Pigeon who has such a vast vocabulary, but doesn't seem to understand much that he says, the Scarecrow who is just looking for 'devotions', and to give 'devotions' in return, several ghosts that haunt the churchyard and the Weather-Hen who seems to have her painted eye on the Raven and his treasure. The only thing that made me question the storyline was the actions of the Raven's stoic and trusted friend, Father Cadman. The Raven has trusted Father Cadman with his biggest secret and has been allowed to sing with Father Cadman after mass every Sunday for some time, which has helped their friendship grow. The Father even states "What a wonder this is! My own God, speaking to me through the mouth of one of his creatures." As far as the reader knows, the Raven has never done wrong by the priest, but as we move through the book, we find the priest turning on the Raven after one single accusation. This transgression has Father Cadman banishing the Raven from the church, which made me wonder about how the priest's mind works. If he really did believe it was his God talking to him, why would he doubt the Raven so quickly? However, apart from that, I found this book a great read that had me wanting to read just a little more, every time I should have been going to bed or doing something else. Samantha-Ellen Bound has woven a delightful story that I will be recommending it to the Grade 3-6 students at school.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Shelleyrae at Book'd Out

    "Some birds are made for greatness, and others have greatness thrust upon them. The raven was of both kinds, which meant that his capacity for greatness was huge." From his home in a partially collapsed church steeple, the Raven watches the comings and goings of the parishioners, graveyard ghosts and priest. Convinced of his own self importance and superiority, he passes judgement, rarely interacting with the world at his feet. On occasion the Raven descends to the rafters of the church to warble "Some birds are made for greatness, and others have greatness thrust upon them. The raven was of both kinds, which meant that his capacity for greatness was huge." From his home in a partially collapsed church steeple, the Raven watches the comings and goings of the parishioners, graveyard ghosts and priest. Convinced of his own self importance and superiority, he passes judgement, rarely interacting with the world at his feet. On occasion the Raven descends to the rafters of the church to warble along with the hymns and once the church is empty to sing, for he understands every word of human speech. While the Raven is content to simply observe the world, hoarding treasure and dining on tasty bugs, he is reluctantly drawn into the church's activity - assisting a ghost to reach out to his grieving sister, rescuing a suicidal man, and catching a collection plate thief. This unusual, charming novel from debut author Samantha-Ellen Bound is essentially a children's fable, a story that explores the importance of friendship and of helping others when it is within your means to do so. I thought the characterisation was impressive, the Raven's self importance, the pigeon's scattered thoughts and the scarecrow's loneliness are believable. I enjoyed the humour of Raven's grumpy sarcasm and the Weatherhen's cheekiness and the way in which the author distinguishes between each character with dialogue. This is a well written story that impressed me, despite not being something I would usually choose to read. What the Raven Saw is a lovely story aimed at the childrens audience and one that could be well utilised for classroom teaching in the later primary grades. I think it also has great potential as an illustrated children's book.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Clare M

    This book was a wonderful surprise! The author's characters were well developed and I had to put the book down on a few occasions to think about what I had read - a first for me! I was moved by the raven the pigeon and the scarecrow; three very different characters with very different outlooks on the world. I can't help but include a quote from my favourite character, the scarecrow: "Do what you must, little bird beast... I be of thanks to you... You have listening ears. This is much goodness. I gi This book was a wonderful surprise! The author's characters were well developed and I had to put the book down on a few occasions to think about what I had read - a first for me! I was moved by the raven the pigeon and the scarecrow; three very different characters with very different outlooks on the world. I can't help but include a quote from my favourite character, the scarecrow: "Do what you must, little bird beast... I be of thanks to you... You have listening ears. This is much goodness. I give you the name of friend."

  6. 4 out of 5

    Judy

    It took me until about page 170 to fall completely in love with this particular raven, but then the deed was done. I particularly enjoyed the sometimes incomprehensible dialogue in this. Seriously. Conversations between pigeons, scarecrows and ravens would conceivably be a bit incomprehensible, in a charming kind of way.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Gina

    So perfect, it made me cry.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Anne Williams

    My 12 year old daughter recommended this one to me. I very much enjoyed it - imaginative and original, the central character is a superficially quite unlikable raven. He is grumpy and vain, isolated and selfish. "What the raven saw" draws us into his world and asks us to appreciate how he perceives it - ravens can talk with humans but hide this ability, they see and speak with ghosts, they look down upon other bird species, they covet shiny objects. Against his better judgement the raven is draw My 12 year old daughter recommended this one to me. I very much enjoyed it - imaginative and original, the central character is a superficially quite unlikable raven. He is grumpy and vain, isolated and selfish. "What the raven saw" draws us into his world and asks us to appreciate how he perceives it - ravens can talk with humans but hide this ability, they see and speak with ghosts, they look down upon other bird species, they covet shiny objects. Against his better judgement the raven is drawn into the "after life" of a young boy, Todd, and his still living sister Mackenzie, a crime against the church he lives in and the judgment of its priest. It was a quick read with a fascinating story.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jack

    Masterpiece of children's fiction. Masterpiece of children's fiction.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    Guess who finally finished the book? So this book was definitely something, and I don't know how to articulate it in a fluent way so let's just go with the flow and discuss my rating of it. Honestly, a 2.5, which is more than what it was originally going to get, potentially a 2.76 as well? I think a lot of my problems with this book are based around the fact that I'm probably not the correct audience for it. At 20 years of age, I found the book really simple and slow all the way through and strugg Guess who finally finished the book? So this book was definitely something, and I don't know how to articulate it in a fluent way so let's just go with the flow and discuss my rating of it. Honestly, a 2.5, which is more than what it was originally going to get, potentially a 2.76 as well? I think a lot of my problems with this book are based around the fact that I'm probably not the correct audience for it. At 20 years of age, I found the book really simple and slow all the way through and struggled to read it despite starting it 11 months ago. It's definitely a book I would recommend to younger readers around the age of 12, or potentially a mature 9 year old as its themes of death and friendship are strong and would indicate important lessons in moving forward for younger readers. But the simple writing, wasn't compelling to me in a way that a lot of junior fiction books are, I still wanted to feel encouraged and maybe a little curious about what was going to happen next, but it completely lacked that. I did however enjoy the second half of the book a lot more as the characters really peaked and the writing did improve. As we venture with the Raven and Todd into their plan of action to reveal the thief and console Mackenzie, there is more depth and action within the plot. The first half of the book just felt like a lot of talking and not a lot of doing, dramatic action wasn't a strength for me. Another thing I did enjoy were the characters, the Raven is pompous and makes no attempt at hiding this, and Mackenzie is similar in her own way as she grieves the death of her brother. Both of these characters were fairly strong. Then there was Todd who stood as kind of a voice of reason, a voice of need, hoping for change. He seemed like a genuine kid who just wanted to protect his younger sister, understandable in all circumstances. My favourite character however, was the Weatherhen, who is present for most of the story, not speaking ever to the readers in an understandable way, but reinforcing and moving the plot forward, (do birds control the weather AND talk?). I think even more could have been done with the Weatherhen's character to make her even more omniscient, giving her more depth. But what was done did work reasonably well. I think this book is one I should've read earlier, or with more of a purpose than to just read. With tweaks in writing style, simplicity, and dramatic action this could be a truly incredible story - it would make an interesting film I think - and despite my rating, it was a neat debut novel, much better than I was anticipating at the 30 page mark. Best of luck to Samantha-Ellen Bound for future novels. I hope her ideas keep growing.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Madison

    What a wonderful story! I picked this up at my local bookstore after I noticed one of my Goodreads friends commenting on it. I didn't go down there for it, but I needed a book to read when Fellowship of the Rings became too much, so when What the Raven Saw caught my eye, I thought I'd give it a go. I really liked the character of the raven; he was very shirty and could care less about anyone but himself, however you could see the sadness within him in the way he reacted to various characters. Sa What a wonderful story! I picked this up at my local bookstore after I noticed one of my Goodreads friends commenting on it. I didn't go down there for it, but I needed a book to read when Fellowship of the Rings became too much, so when What the Raven Saw caught my eye, I thought I'd give it a go. I really liked the character of the raven; he was very shirty and could care less about anyone but himself, however you could see the sadness within him in the way he reacted to various characters. Samantha-Ellen Bound has created some unique characters with pigeons that use random quotes to try and involve themselves in conversation, scarecrows looking for "devotions" and ghosts that haunt a church graveyard, where the Raven has made a home. What the Raven Saw is a great little book that sees the Raven change from grump to somewhat friendly, however I have to question why Father Cadman was so quick to turn on the Raven, since they were 'friends'. Mind you, that was just a minor glitch in an otherwise excellent tale.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Lyn Battersby

    Lyn is a judge for the Aurealis Awards. Any reviews, ratings or opinions offered by Lyn do not necessarily represent the reviews, ratings or opinions of the Aurealis Awards Panel or Committee. I shall be rating this work once the Aurealis Awards are announced. I don't tend to comment on books I judge that don't make it to the shortlist stage, but in this case I'm going to make an exception. I loved this work so much. Vivid detail and rich character makes this an outstanding read and What the Raven Lyn is a judge for the Aurealis Awards. Any reviews, ratings or opinions offered by Lyn do not necessarily represent the reviews, ratings or opinions of the Aurealis Awards Panel or Committee. I shall be rating this work once the Aurealis Awards are announced. I don't tend to comment on books I judge that don't make it to the shortlist stage, but in this case I'm going to make an exception. I loved this work so much. Vivid detail and rich character makes this an outstanding read and What the Raven Saw became a quick favourite of mine. This is the only non-shortlisted work I'll be keeping for my personal collection (the rest are donated to local libraries for others to enjoy). I can't wait to read more from this author.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    This book grabbed me pretty quickly, and it won't be swiftly forgotten. The raven is a grump with a god complex, and keeps very odd company. The characters send it into a weird intersection of realism and fantasy, making you question just how much comes down to the perspective of the narrator. The personal journey of the raven is fairly straight-forward for a while there, but comes down to a funny kind of redemption that doesn't compromise his integrity. I read this with my students in mind. Som This book grabbed me pretty quickly, and it won't be swiftly forgotten. The raven is a grump with a god complex, and keeps very odd company. The characters send it into a weird intersection of realism and fantasy, making you question just how much comes down to the perspective of the narrator. The personal journey of the raven is fairly straight-forward for a while there, but comes down to a funny kind of redemption that doesn't compromise his integrity. I read this with my students in mind. Some parents might have concerns about ghosts, but the approach is very gentle, and shouldn't cause much trouble. I'd recommend it for upper primary and onwards.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    "What the Raven Saw" is a delicious read, a whimsical adventure with a touch of darkness and even a bit of romance, and a lot of friendship, thrown in. Samantha-Ellen Bound creates some wonderful characters: from the central character, the grumpy and proudly beautiful Raven; the annoyingly (to the Raven) cheerful and smelly Pigeon; the wise and lonely Scarecrow; the unhappy ghost of the recently dead 12 year old Todd; Todd's feisty sister Kenzie; and many more ... This is an adventure played out "What the Raven Saw" is a delicious read, a whimsical adventure with a touch of darkness and even a bit of romance, and a lot of friendship, thrown in. Samantha-Ellen Bound creates some wonderful characters: from the central character, the grumpy and proudly beautiful Raven; the annoyingly (to the Raven) cheerful and smelly Pigeon; the wise and lonely Scarecrow; the unhappy ghost of the recently dead 12 year old Todd; Todd's feisty sister Kenzie; and many more ... This is an adventure played out around a church with a crumbling bell tower, a cemetery and local farming land ... an adventure with treasure at its core.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Katie Noonan

    I found this book extremely hard to read only because it was so boring. I got the concepts and how the author has implied lessons in life but nothing really happens in it. The majority of the book is just the raven watching the church and a dead guy. I was utterly disappointed as I won this book at a writing expedition and was confident it would be good. I would not recommend it to any of my friends as it’s not enjoyable in my opinion. But i gave it 2 stars because I understood what the author w I found this book extremely hard to read only because it was so boring. I got the concepts and how the author has implied lessons in life but nothing really happens in it. The majority of the book is just the raven watching the church and a dead guy. I was utterly disappointed as I won this book at a writing expedition and was confident it would be good. I would not recommend it to any of my friends as it’s not enjoyable in my opinion. But i gave it 2 stars because I understood what the author was trying to get across :)

  16. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    This book was okay and probably for people younger than me (14) but depends on your views. To be honest I would have stopped read except there was a ghost boy so I continued. Bit of a children's fantasy sort of book. Talking animals, talking scare crows and ghosts. (2017) Edit: dropped this book to two stars for said reasons This book was okay and probably for people younger than me (14) but depends on your views. To be honest I would have stopped read except there was a ghost boy so I continued. Bit of a children's fantasy sort of book. Talking animals, talking scare crows and ghosts. (2017) Edit: dropped this book to two stars for said reasons

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kristi

    This book was creative and I loved all of it- except for the first 70 pages or so. They were so slow and I really wished they had been edited and rewritten to be a faster pace. I'm not sure how many younger readers are going to slog through 70 pages from the viewpoint of a conceited and selfish bird. This book was creative and I loved all of it- except for the first 70 pages or so. They were so slow and I really wished they had been edited and rewritten to be a faster pace. I'm not sure how many younger readers are going to slog through 70 pages from the viewpoint of a conceited and selfish bird.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Trisha

    A fable of sorts that shows (not tells) some powerful truths about love, grief and lonliness. Although full of emotions, there is also humour and a bit of silliness. Clever, insightful. (read for readers cup)

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jo Laretive

    The Raven was a delightful character, so proud and grand. The story was engaging.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kash

    It was okay.... I wrote a review on the skl reading blog which has a link at www.aishk.edu.hk It was okay.... I wrote a review on the skl reading blog which has a link at www.aishk.edu.hk

  21. 4 out of 5

    Moura

    Amazing!!! Absolutely loved this book. Highly recommend this book to everyone.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Tina

    The raven was funny at times. Not my favourite, but not bad.....

  23. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca Dingjan

  24. 5 out of 5

    Maddi

  25. 5 out of 5

    Medea Nightshade

  26. 4 out of 5

    Gwyneth

  27. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie Mcdonald

  28. 5 out of 5

    Natalie Chinno

  29. 5 out of 5

    Kim Davie

  30. 4 out of 5

    Sally O'Brien

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