Owl Babies by Martin Wardell
Author: Martin Wardell & Patrick Benson
Never has the plight of young ones who miss their mother been so simply told or so beautifully rendered as in this tale of three baby owls who awaken one night to find their mother gone. Where is she? When will she be back? What scary things move in the night around them? Stunning illustrations in full color.
Three owl babies whose mother has gone out in the night try to stay calm while she is gone.
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.