Alice Crew Gall and Fleming H. Crew


Of their work, the Mrs. Gall and Mr. Crew wrote--

We are brother and sister. Like most boys and girls, we loved the out-of-doors and were fond of taking hikes into the nearby woods and fields or along the banks of the small streams that flow down to the river. It was on these hikes that we learned to know the small wild creatures and learned to love them too. We decided that it would be fun to write about them. And it has been fun, even more fun than we thought. Each book has carried us back in memory to the time when, as children, we saw these creatures making their nests and burrows and living their lives.
-- edited from The Junior Book of Authors, Second Edition, Kunitz and Haycraft

While Gall & Crew wrote other children's books, we have been most entranced with their nature novels. These are similar to Robert McClung's older nature stories, in that the animals come to life and have personalities, but these are longer chapter books. Ages 8 and up. (Ages 4 and up for reading aloud.)

Bushy Tail (chipmunk)
Flat Tail (beaver)
Little Black Ant
Ringtail (raccoon)
Splasher (muskrat)
Wagtail (tadpole/frog) 

From Little Black Ant--

"Close to the edge of a thicket, where the sun shone down through scrubby trees and bushes, stood a low mound of sand. It was one of the hills of the black ant people and inside it Little Black Ant was making her toilet one morning. 

"Like all the ant people, this little black ant thought that nothing was more important than keeping perfectly clean. So now she washed herself with her tongue and brushed herself with the hairy bristles on her front legs, until her glossy coat shone and glistened.

. . . . .

"But she had not gone far when suddenly she stopped and, raising herself as high as she could on her six small legs, she stood for a moment waving her silken feelers in every direction. 

"A strange power lay in these tiny feelers that reached out, one on each side of her head, like delicate little arms. All ants have them, but no ant quite understands the secret of their magic. They are more than eyes, they are more than ears, and there is little the ant people need to know that these magic feelers cannot tell them.

"They were telling Little Black Ant something now; something that terrified her. These silken feelers were telling her that an enemy was near, and that she must get away quickly if she wised to live...."