Friday, December 31, 2010

Little Owl Lost

Little Owl Lost
By Chris Haughton
Candlewick Press, 2010. Unpaged. Picture Book.

Little Owl Lost, written and illustrated by Chris Haughton, is the familiar story of a child separated from its mother. Little Owl falls from his nest, and begins the search to find his way back to his mother. Squirrel tries to help him by bringing him to nearly every animal in the forest, insisting each time that he knows just who Mommy is. This is a perfect book for reading out loud with preschoolers. It has repetitive text, with Little Owl's predictable response, "That's not my mommy," to every case of mistaken-mommy identity. In the end, it is Frog who reunites him with his real owl mother, and Frog, Squirrel, Little Owl, and Mommy Owl all enjoy a snack of cookies together. The book ends with Little Owl teetering on the edge of the nest- again! Children will want to hear this one over and over.

Haughton brings new life to this oft-told tale with his unique illustrations. Some pages are stark, with one or two bold characters on an all-white page. Other pages are fully-saturated with vivid, retro illustrations that jump off the page. This picture book also shines because of its great characters and dialogue. I especially enjoyed the interactive aspect. There are many animals to spot, including hidden animals in the background. Little Owl also uses gestures to describe his mother to Squirrel, such as, "My mommy has POINTY EARS. Like THIS!" (Squirrel is none too bright, as he brings Little Owl to one wrong animal after another- in this case, a rabbit.)

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