Children's Literature - Michele C. Hughes
Illustrations steal the show in this sweet story about owl babies who miss their mother. The woodcut-like drawings capture the soft fluffiness of the white owls, the vast, dark night in which they watch and wait, and the delicately veined leaves that surround their home. Somehow, the owls look simultaneously real and anthropomorphized, and this draws the reader into their world and their predicament. When three owl babies awaken to find their mother missing, they each have a different reaction. Sarah, the natural leader, reassures her siblings that their absent mother will return. Percy dutifully follows her lead, seconding her assertions. Little Bill, on the other hand, can only repeat, "I want my mommy!" in his owlish anguish. Simple language moves the story along to a comforting end, which makes this an ideal bedtime story. Consistent characterizations and the steadfastness of the mother owl are reassuring. The accompanying ten-minute DVD includes a lightly animated version of the book, read by a narrator, as well as a short film of the author talking about his work. A sticker page at the end adds another dimension to the book. Reviewer: Michele C. Hughes
Three worried owlets wait for their mother to return from her night flight. PW said, Benson's disarming cross-hatched pictures of fluffy, wide-eyed owl babies, and the use of light-colored text against a black background, turn this sweet story into a hauntingly lovely book. Ages 3-7. (Apr.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
New to board book format is Martin Waddell's Owl Babies, in which three worried owlets wait for their mother to return from her night flight. Patrick Benson's disarming cross-hatched pictures of fluffy, wide-eyed owl babies, and the use of light colored text against a black background, turn this sweet story into a hauntingly lovely little book. (Candlewick, $6.99 22p ages 18 mos.-2 yrs. ISBN 1-56402-965-4, Oct.)
Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
The expressions on the faces of these baby owls are enough to tug at any heart, but the heartwarming story of Percy, Sarah and Bill, all of who are anxiously awaiting the return of mother owl, is a true delight. The easy cadence of the words, the gentle humor, and the poignancy of Bill's plaint "I want my Mommy" will ring true with kids and their mothers. Reissue of the 1992 award-winning book in a board book version.
Children's Literature - Susie Wilde
When children begin to eat, they are a little sloppy. That's because they throw themselves fully into the new experience. They may well have a similar approach to books. As we watched my daughter teethe on board books we would remark on her fine taste in books. A sure hit for older toddlers is the board book version of Owl Babies.
School Library Journal
PreS-- 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. --Susan Scheps, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH
Sarah, Percy, and Bill, three small owls who live in the forest, wake up one night to find their mother gone. Sarah and Percy, the older and "braver" siblings, try to reassure themselves and their baby brother, Bill, that Mother has only flown off in search of food and will soon return; but the dark and silent forest is frightening and lonely at night, and deep down the baby owls wonder if Mother will really come back. They huddle together, trying to be brave but imagining the worst. Finally, Mother reappears with a feast, and the youngsters greet her with enthusiastic relief. Waddell uses pared-down prose and simple sentences to convey the owl babies' growing sense of loneness and then their happy relief when Mother returns. This story will strike a familiar chord in every small child who has been afraid when left by his or her parent, and parents will perhaps gain a new understanding of how a small child might feel when he or she is left. The quiet of the night forest and the little owls' sense of smallness are imaginatively captured by the velvety, black-as-night background and the softly glowing, jewel-toned colors of Benson's woodcutlike illustrations. A wonderful "read to me" book for nap time, story time, or bedtime.