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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on 18 June 2002
This story is about three owls and they wake up one night and their Mum went hunting for their food. They thought their Mum was gone so they went outside and waited on a branch. They were upset.
I liked this story because some parts were funny like when they jumped up and down on the branch when their Mum came back.
I would recommend this story to people who are under five years old because they would like the pictures because some of the pictures are funny.
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56 of 61 people found the following review helpful
on 9 May 2001
Owl Babies by Martin Waddell is a lovely book for very young children. The story is about three baby owls, Sarah, Percy and Bill, who wake up in the middle of the night and find their mother is gone.
The book has a lovely rhythm to it, although it is not written in poetry form. It's more like a song, with a few gentle rhythmical lines, then one which cuts the rhythm and draws the child's attention, which is excellent for young heads and short attention spans. There are also a few rhymes thrown in which get caught up in the rhythm, and one particular rhyming couplet which is repeated throughout:
"The little owls thought -All owls think a lot"
Which is something for children to hang onto throughout the story. They can also learn to anticipate the second line and eventually join in.
The characters in the book are good too. As the Mother Owl is the only "grown-up" she can be replaced with "Granny Owl" or "Daddy Owl" as appropriate for your child and their main carer, or whoever they might identify this character with. The book is an excellent starting point for discussion with little ones, especially if they are worried about being left somewhere new, like school, nursery, or even at home with a baby-sitter when Mum goes out.
The three owls themselves each have different characters, and adults can easily change the names to match those of the young listeners. In the book, Sarah is the one who seems to look after the other two, so she is probably the older sister (or brother, if you call her Sam, like we do!).
Percy is a little bit younger, and looks up to Sarah for reassurance. I always read Percy with a high squeaky voice which goes down well with the bairns. Poor wee Bill only has one thing to say throughout (more repetition, which means more opportunities for anticipation and joining in). At the end of each page, Bill pipes up:
"I want my mummy!"
Of course the Mother Owl does return in the end, and this is the perfect time to confront any fears or worries in your little ones about Mum or Dad not coming back.
The illustrations, by Patrick Benson are quite dark and spooky, and in my opinion, more attractive to older children than those the book is aimed at. However, this book is available in an extra large size which makes the pictures much more attractive, with the Owls' faces jumping out at your child. Also available as a board book if you are looking for a sturdier copy!
If you are feeling adventurous, or are a teacher or playworker looking to do extension work on this book, there is plenty of opportunity for sensory exploration, especially looking at the materials which the owls' nest is made of (these are listed as part of the story). There are also the elements of birds, animal noises, owls, night animals and animal homes.
This is a lovely book for very young children... there is plenty in this book to make it a longlasting favourite for children and adults.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 20 November 2008
When my son turned 2 our health visitor came to do the usual check up and gave him his Bookstart pack which included the delightfully colourful "cock-a-moo-moo" and the rather bland and dull looking Owl Babies. cock a moo moo was read again and again and I just assumed the "dull" illustrations and not so "loud" and rather "bounce-less" narrative of Owl Babies would not captivate him so it found its way to the bottom of the toy box until my son pulled it out one day and asked to have it read to him, after which we were both hooked! Now he is three and his little 1 year old sister also loves the book, its taught them that when mummy leaves its no big deal, and sometimes you may well b on your own, but at those times you look after each other (rather than pinching the other's toy the moment mummy walks out the room!). I was surprised at both my kids loving the book despite what I had written off as too scary a story (is mummy gone for too long?), too boring the narrative and too dull the illustrations.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 15 February 2008
which needs no formal introduction, from Martin Waddell.

This review is for the 1994/Walker Books paperback edition.

Larger size width, half height paperback with 32 high quality shiny pages in the popular 2-page spread format. Beautifully illustrated throughout, by Patrick Benson.

From the back cover:-

'On a tree in the woods. Three baby owls, Sarah and Percy and Bill, sit and think and wait for their Owl Mother to come home.'

"Touchingly beautiful....Drawn with exquisite delicacy...The perfect picture book....." The Guardian'

And the pictures are indeed wonderful, set in darker colours to represent the night time light.
Meaningful facial expressions add to the atmosphere and the story has a repeat element in the lines:-

(all owls think a lot)
and
"I want my mummy!" said Bill.

Clear light coloured text on the dark background with emphasised in places in capitalization or italics.

In my opinion, this book is particularly well set out with the text always being on the left hand page, so the younger reader is naturally drawn there on the turn of the page!

Example of text:-

'One night they woke up and their Owl Mother was GONE.
"Where's Mummy?" asked Sarah?
"Oh my goodness!" said Percy.
"I want my Mummy!" said Bill.

The baby owls thought
(all owls think a lot) -
"I think she`s gone hunting," said Sarah.
"To get us our food!" said Percy.
"I want my Mummy!" said Bill.......'

It is dark in the wood, so the three baby owls bravely stick together, sitting on Sarah's branch, as they ponder their Mum's absence.

All is well that ends well as Mummy swoops back to three excited owls 'flapping and dancing and bouncing up and down' on their branch!
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on 11 September 2005
I did a stint of volunteer reading at a Junior School. This was the book all the kids picked - they love it! I buy it for all of my little nieces, nephews, friends children etc etc
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
'Owl Babies' tells the simple but wonderfully-illustrated tale of three little owls who wake to find their mother missing. During their eager wait for her return, they consider where she might be...except for Fred, the tiniest of the three, who is so upset he just keeps saying 'I want my mummy!'.

Though necessarily simple given the age of its target audience, this would be an immensely reassuring story to read to any child having to spend a little time away from his or her parents, or perhaps one who dislikes sleeping in a room alone. The element of repetition in little Fred's dialogue lends itself to 'playing along' and the illustrations really are outstanding.

I came across this beautiful book whilst waiting in a doctor's office, and I'm so glad I did - I'll certainly be buying a copy for my own child when s/he is born.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 10 January 2001
I bought this book after using it whilst on work experience in a nursery school. The children loved it, and it was invaluable for comforting a small boy on his first day who was worried that his mum wouldn't come back to get him. The illustrations are beautiful and highly original.
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'Owl Babies' was an important book for all of my grandchildren. Each of the set of parents worked out of the home, and this was an excellent story for children to hear when their parents went out at night.

The author, Martin Waddell, has written a lovely story about a mama owl and her three baby owls. Mama Owl must go out, and she leaves her three baby owls alone at home. This book relates the feelings and worries about the three young Owls. They worry about their mama, and they wonder when she will come home. They have not been left alone before, and they wonder who will take care of them. Of course, mana does come home, and children will be able to relate their fears when their mamas and their parents go out. This is a good book for parents and teachers to read, and for children to relate their fears about their parents leaving them at times. This can be read time and time again.

Recommended. prisrob 06-02-15
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 17 December 2008
I bought this book for my baby when she was tiny. She is nearly one now, and flaps and bounces at the appropriate point.

The story manages to combine simplicity, with real charactarisation and emotions in a way that none of the other stories I read to my daughter do. The pictures are beautifully drawn, they look like real owls, but still manage to convey the emotion of the story.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
First let me start off by saying that I think this is a really lovely story - really it is. But it's hardly about what I think, it's about what my 3 year old son thinks ...

Maybe he's just a sensitive little soul, but he seemed genuinely upset that the 3 little owls are alone in the dark forest without their mummy for most of the book, wondering where she is & whether or not she is coming back. I've stopped reading the book to him, because he is now always asking me if my husband or I am also going to leave him like the owl mummy left her babies :o(
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