The Christmas Owl: Based on the True Story of a Little Owl Named Rockefeller

Ellen Kalish and Gideon Sterer, illus. by Ramona Kaulitzki. Little, Brown, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-316-29912-1
The 2020 discovery and rescue of a saw-whet owl, “not even a year old,” in Rockefeller Center’s Christmas tree inspires this anthropomorphic exploration of Christmas by the owl’s wildlife rehabilitator, Kalish, and author Sterer, illustrated by Kaulitzki in playful digital spreads. When snow begins to fall and the town near Little Owl’s tree fills with lights, she wonders why. “Christmas!” Moose explains. She’s still baffled, as are the other animals. Then her home is cut down, and Little Owl is transported to New York City within the tree’s trussed branches. Captured in a box and delivered to pale-skinned Ellen at the Ravensbeard Wildlife Center, Little Owl is cared for until she’s released. “Could Christmas be caring?” she wonders. A victory flight over the lights of Rockefeller Center before heading home reveals the answer: “All, it seemed, were eager to love./ Is this Christmas?/ Yes, Little Owl thought, it must be.” Back matter features an author’s note from Kalish, a recollection of her time taking care of Rockefeller the Owl, and photos. Ages 4–8. (Oct.)
Reviewed on : 09/09/2021
Release date: 10/05/2021
Genre: Children's
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