This book was a suggestion from a reader. Thank you, Steve! Owl Moon is a lovely picture book about a father and child going into the woods on a snowy night to see a Great Horned Owl. We checked this book out of the library about a week after an owl spent the day perched on a branch in our backyard. It was a fun tie-in, since the kids’ “owl-radars” were more alert than usual.
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First of all, I love the illustrations in Owl Moon. There are little creatures hiding in the woods on almost every page, and the paintings definitely capture the feeling of a full moon on a snowy night in the woods. Just beautiful. Sentimentally, this book reminded me of a recording I have of my grandfather telling me about the calls of a loon in the Boundary Waters of Minnesota. My grandfather died when I was young, and that is one of the few memories of him I have from my childhood, so I quickly connected with this story.
The storytelling is quiet with poetic descriptions of how things looked, felt, and sounded. The child explains that they have to be silent as they walk and listen for the owl, and do not complain about being cold. “If you go owling, you have to be quiet and make your own heat.” The father calls to the owl several times, and they have to stand quietly listening before walking further into the woods and calling again. Eventually the owl responds, then the father responds “just as if he and the owl were talking about supper or about the woods or the moon or the cold.” The Great Horned Owl flies towards them and perched on a branch. “For one minute, three minutes, maybe even a hundred minutes, we stared at one another” before he flew away again, and they walked back home.
I read this book to all four kids, and they were curious to hear the actual call of a Great Horned Owl, so I did a quick internet search and we listened to owl calls for a a while after reading the book. The children had some debate about whether the child is a girl or a boy. There are so many layers of winter clothes and a scarf covering everything but the eyes, it’s easy to pretend that it’s whoever you want it to be.
There are so many lines that I loved in Owl Moon, it was hard to just pick a few. Probably my favorite line was almost at the very end. “When go owling you don’t need words or warm or anything but hope.”
Here is what Paul has to say about Owl Moon:
If you’d like to read this book, I’m sure your library has it. If you want to purchase it, your local bookstore should have it in stock, but if you are planning a purchase on Amazon, would you please use our link?
It won’t cost you extra and it helps us a little. Thanks!