Saturday, October 28, 2006

Owl Babies

By Martin Waddell, illustrated by Patrick Benson. Three little owl babies wake up in their nest and find mother gone. They wonder where she went and when she will come home. The oldest, Sarah, has several reasonable explanations for where mother must have gone. The middle one, Percy, agrees with everything she says. The youngest little fluff ball Bill just keeps saying “I want my mommy!” As the story progresses even Sarah looses confidence and starts thinking of disaster. The illustrations are beautiful. The facial expressions on the little owls are so evocative you don’t even need to read the text to know just what they are feeling. Their loneliness, fear and confusion make me want to cry. When mother finally does come back the simple, direct text (“AND SHE CAME.”) breaks the tension with a huge sigh of relief. The owl babies jump and flap and dance with joy. “What’s all the fuss?” mother asks. “You knew I’d come back.” Of course they all say they knew it.

I read about this book on a forum where adoptive parents were talking about how much their children related to this book and how comforting it was to them. I checked it out of the library as a tonic to read to Buddy before bed along with Coming On Home Soon, also about missing mother. We have been having a lot of weepiness and night fears in need of reassurance so I am treating it with good literature. Any other book suggestions on this theme?

3 comments:

Liz B said...

This was one of the books highlighted at the Fear & Fiction in Children's Books conference I attended (Waddell read this book with a wonderful Northern Irish accent!) The other picture books discussed were Robie Harris's Don't Forget to Come Back (about parents going out for the evening) and Mo Willem's Leonardo (more about friendships than parents.) OH, and Waddell also spoke about Can't You Sleep Little Bear.

Carrie K. said...

When my 3rd was 4, this was his absolute favorite. I would read it over and over again, and he would always say "I want my mommy!" at the appropriate times. It's still a favorite at our house even though my kids are getting older.

Melissa said...

I had found this book at a yardsale last summer. My B really enjoys it. I love the pictures of the little owls.