cover image Little Owl Lost

Little Owl Lost

Chris Haughton, Candlewick, $14.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-7636-5022-3

By sticking to simple shapes and a bold palette, Haughton has created a debut that reads like a tattered old favorite. A single half-page shows Little Owl dozing off in his nest, then—once it’s turned—bouncing softly to the forest floor. The animals who find Little Owl are flat, stylized creatures in jewel colors, but their eyes convey a wealth of feeling. Squirrel peers at Little Owl, his paws clasped in concern, his neck stretched out quizzically. “My mommy is VERY BIG,” says Little Owl. “Yes! Yes! I know! I know!” says Squirrel. “Follow me.... Here she is. Here’s your mommy.” Squirrel points to an enormous teal bear, staring befuddled at readers. A few more cases of mistaken identity ensue before locating Little Owl’s mother (careful readers will have noticed her seeking out her progeny). With instinctive skill, Haughton uses spreads of the forest to establish atmosphere and set up jokes, then delivers punch lines with spot illustrations that zero in on the animals’ dopey but lovable expressions. A promising first outing. Ages 2–up. (Aug.)