Reviews provided by Syndetics
Publishers Weekly Review
New to board book format is Martin Waddell's Owl Babies, in which three worried owlets wait for their mother to return from her night flight. Patrick Benson's disarming cross-hatched pictures of fluffy, wide-eyed owl babies, and the use of light colored text against a black background, turn this sweet story into a hauntingly lovely little book. (Candlewick, $6.99 22p ages 18 mos.-2 yrs. ISBN 1-56402-965-4, Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
School Library Journal Review
PreS-- This simple story pales in comparison to the exceptionally well-crafted illustrations. Rendered in black ink and watercolor with an abundance of crosshatching used to show background, shadow, texture, and depth, each stunning woodcutlike panorama fills a double-page spread. Benson has chosen shades of turquoise, pale yellow, and light green for the large-type text in order to avoid detracting from the blue-and-green dominated paintings. Realistic as they appear, the three, fluffy, white baby owls and their mother are infused with distinct personalities. The owlets awaken one night to find their mother gone. Sarah, the largest, reasons that she is out hunting for food. Mid-sized Percy tends to agree, while tiny Bill will only repeat, ``I want my mommy!'' Mom, just out for a night flight, does return, of course, and her fledglings are delighted to see her. The repetition just doesn't work. The plot is too meager, the text too unexciting. Hutchins's Good Night Owl (Macmillan, 1991), Thaler's Owly (HarperCollins, 1982), and Yolen's Owl Moon (Philomel, 1987) are all better stories for preschoolers. Simple, well-written books about mother love and reassurance for this age group are abundant. --Susan Scheps, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Ages 3-6. Sarah, Percy, and Bill, three small owls who live in the forest, wake up one night to find their mother gone. Sarah and Percy, the older and "braver" siblings, try to reassure themselves and their baby brother, Bill, that Mother has only flown off in search of food and will soon return; but the dark and silent forest is frightening and lonely at night, and deep down the baby owls wonder if Mother will really come back. They huddle together, trying to be brave but imagining the worst. Finally, Mother reappears with a feast, and the youngsters greet her with enthusiastic relief. Waddell uses pared-down prose and simple sentences to convey the owl babies' growing sense of loneness and then their happy relief when Mother returns. This story will strike a familiar chord in every small child who has been afraid when left by his or her parent, and parents will perhaps gain a new understanding of how a small child might feel when he or she is left. The quiet of the night forest and the little owls' sense of smallness are imaginatively captured by the velvety, black-as-night background and the softly glowing, jewel-toned colors of Benson's woodcutlike illustrations. A wonderful "read to me" book for nap time, story time, or bedtime. ~--Emily Melton
Horn Book Review
A truncated version of an excellent picture book for preschoolers (in which three baby owls reassure one another while waiting for their mother to return) squeezes too much text on each spread, destroying the pace of the original and demanding too much of the board-book audience. From HORN BOOK 1996, (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Book Review
Three little white owls perch outside their cozy nest, wishing Mother would come home. In Waddell's simple, repetitive, carefully fashioned text, each is unique: Sarah, the largest, makes comforting remarks; Percy seconds them, but doubtfully; while little Bill just keeps saying, ``I want my mommy!'' Owl Mother does come, of course: ``WHAT'S ALL THE FUSS? You knew I'd come back.'' Benson's soft, wide-eyed birds--rendered in delicate pen strokes touched with gentle color that makes the dramatic, dark night seem appropriately awesome--are perfect stand-ins for wise little toddlers who also know Mom will turn up--but still can't help wondering. (Picture book. 1-5)