White Owl, Barn Owl
Nicola Davies. Candlewick Press (MA), $16.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-7636-3364-6
The gentle quietness of the barn owl pervades the pages of this lovely story. The creature is the center attraction for a girl and her grandfather who construct a nest box in the hopes of setting their sights on this rather elusive bird. Davies (Extreme Animals) serves as an authority on all things avian, peppering her tale with various factoids about owls set in a typeface that resembles handwritten notes to the reader (""Owls swallow their prey whole; that's why they need to spit out the bones and fur""). The girl's voice, characterized by both amazement and anticipation, balances out the authoritative information ("" 'We'll have to be patient,' said Grandpa. We were patient lots of times!""). Equally effective are Foreman's (Shakespeare Stories) lush paintings of the night landscape, awash in a palette of cool blues and muted whites cast a luminescent glow on the owl. When the patient duo finally spots the mysterious bird, he is not unlike an angel spreading his wings across the heavens. This story will resonate with nature lovers and introduce new enthusiasts to a wondrous bird. Ages 5-8.
Reviewed on: 04/09/2007