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Barn Owls by Tony Johnston, Deborah Kogan Ray

Tony Johnston's THE BARN OWLS recalls in quiet tones the memory of a barn that has stood alone in a wheat field for one hundred years at least. The owls have nested there and have hunted in the fields and circled in the night skies as time slowly slipped by. Every night, as the moon rises, a barn owl awakens and flies out to hunt. Feathered against the endless starry night, he swoops and sails to the darkened wheat field below and catches a mouse in his nimble talons. With outstretched wings, this barn owl returns to his barn nest and his hungry family, repeating the ageless ritual his ancestors have practiced here, in this barn, for at least one hundred years. Following the life cycle of the barn owl, this gentle poem evokes a sense of warm sunshine and envelopes readers with the memory of the scent of a wheat field.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780881069822
Publisher: Charlesbridge
Publication date: 07/28/2001
Pages: 32
Sales rank: 246,468
Product dimensions: 8.54(w) x 11.00(h) x 0.14(d)
Age Range: 4 - 8 Years

About the Author

Tony Johnston is the author of over 100 books for children, including THE CAT WITH SEVEN NAMES and THE HARMONICA. Johnston has worked at a children's bookstore, taught a course on picture book writing at UCLA, and studied poetry writing for children with Myra Cohn Livingston. Although she has published nearly seventy-five books, Johnston never stops working. Always juggling several different story ideas, Tony is grateful for the chance to work at what has become her life's goal-to be a good storyteller. She lives in California.

Deborah Kogan Ray studied painting and printmaking at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. She is an award-winning author and illustrator of children's books, including Dinosaur Mountain (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) and The Barn Owls. She particularly enjoys depicting the natural world. Deborah lives near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Read an Excerpt

The barn has stood in the wheat field one hundred years at least.

Customer Reviews

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Barn Owls 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Amazingly lyrical piece with beautiful illustrations.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Barn Owls Owls are curious creatures that we wonder about. We wonder what they think and what they do and how they do it. The creatures that you think of at night and can only hear, the “Who” “Who” sounds from outside. Are they real or fake? Then you see the shadows of their wings on your window from the light of the moon. Then there it is: a majestic animal. Barn Owls is one of Tony Johnston’s great works. He has made many other great pieces like “My Abuelita,” “10 Fat Turkeys,”. The book reminds me of a caterpillar book. It shows me the same thing that the owls book shows me: it shows the circle of life. In this book, he has great amounts of repetition, with one of the famous lines from the book being “one hundred years at least,” and “The barn has stood in the wheat field.” These repeated lines gives the book a great back bone and the structure. The book really does not have any weak writing. His writing gives me great ideas on owls and how they work. The writing gives me a great sense of how he sees owls and their lifestyle. He is not the only one that has contributed to the book. The owls repeatedly go back to the barn house that “has stood in the wheat field one hundred years at least.” The owls constantly are hunting the mice in the wheat field. Then there is the barn house. The barn house is the home of the owls. The owls sleep and eat in the barn house. Then the new owl comes from the eggs that have been laid in the barn that has “stood for a hundred years at least.” The illustrator is Deborah Kogan Ray. Deborah does great toning and shading in her art. I think it is best for the setting of the story because if you notice, the pages in the book change through like daytime and nighttime. She has really put a great effort into this book. The only thing that could change would be the images and how clear they are. They could be less paint in shading and more of an outline of the owl. The shading did more than it should have, over taking the outline of the owl. The illustrations excel in shading but a little too much. Other than that it was great. The images show the circle of life. There the owl that lives in this “barn that has stood in the wheat field for a hundred years at least.” The owls begin in the wheat fields flying on s perfect summer day. They get into the hunting session. The hunting season is when the owls go out into the fields and hunt for mice. The book is an homage to the owls and their majestic ways. The book encourages readers to think about the life of the owls. Which is great for this book. The text and structure does cooperate with the images. There maybe over did the spaces in between the words. Sometimes the line breaks break up the sentences but some of the sentences don't need line breaking. Don’t get me wrong the text structure was good but had just too many line breaks. Other than that the book is good for children. I think it gives a life lesson. The life lesson saying we all have patterns in life and how we deal with those things. The book is not to real it has a little fantasy just enough to have kids engaged with a real life story. Other than that my opinion of the book is simple: I enjoyed. It is a good book to read little ones.