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Customer Review

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magical Encounters with Nature for Father and Daughter!, 26 July 2004
This review is from: Owl Moon (Hardcover)
Let me clear up one mystery. The dust jacket of this book clearly indicates that this is a story about a girl and her father (Pa). The illustrations also clearly show a little girl. The story's appeal relates to this because the experience described is one that crosses nicely between what many think of as the feminine worlds of beauty and the moon and the masculine worlds of tracking animals and rambling around at night in the snow during winter. I do think that boys will like the story too. Owling would be a great adventure for any child.
The experience is a magical one. The daughter is going owling for the first time. This is a type of bird watching that must occur at night, because owls are nocturnal. You have to have a full moon (or close to one) so that you can see the owls. The silvery moonshine creates great contrasts of light patches on the snow against a backdrop of treed shadows.
To go owling, "you have to be brave." There are other requirements. "If you go owling, you have to be quiet . . . ." And you do need hope!
The book also evokes primitive sound. Her father calls out: "Whoo-whoo-who-who-who-whooooooo . . . ." to simulate the call of the Great Horned Owl. That's how you find an owl. You hope one will be attracted by the call.
Then, the magical moment occurs, and an owl comes. You are face to face. Can such a moment be forgotten? The owl leaves. The relief is palpable. She knows she can talk . . . or even laugh.
As you can see, the story is a wonderful metaphor for going out to find opportunities in the wide world and creates an optimistic expectation of the sort that will serve your child well. It is thrilling to read the story because the excitement and suspense are so strongly captured by the words and images. This book will be a favorite among those that you read to your child. As you do, you will be creating a similar bonding experience.
This book has won the Caldecott Medal for outstanding illustrations. You will enjoy its subtle watercolors and minimal inking of line. The illustrations create the perfect mood for this magical tale of nature and bonding.
After you read this book, I suggest that you take your child bird watching even if owling isn't available to you. But if you can get to a forest (or an area where there are barn owls), an owling trip could be an enormous joy. You may want to read up on how to find owls first.
Seek out what you want, and do it with people you love.
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Review Details

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Donald Mitchell
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