High above the ground in the branches of a cottonwood tree near the town of Pearblossom, there once lived a mother crow and a father crow — or at least the pair aspired to be parents. But a crafty snake, who lived at the bottom of the tree, showed up like clockwork every day with other plans for their eggs.
Thus goes the story of The Crows of Pearblossom, a children's book by Aldous Huxley, the novelist known to generations of high school English students as the author of Brave New World.
Huxley wrote the book in 1944 as a Christmas gift for his young niece, Olivia, who often came to stay with him and his wife at their home in the Mojave Desert. It was his first and only children's story.
After being out of print for years, The Crows of Pearblossom has recently been re-issued with new illustrations by artist Sophie Blackall. And although the story may not be for the faint of heart, the book does have a happy ending.
Daniel Pinkwater, Weekend Edition Saturday's ambassador to the world of children's literature, joins NPR's Scott Simon to discuss Huxley's book.