Read Aloud Thursday: Owl Moon

This week for kindergarten David and I are spending time with one of our favorite Five in a Row books, this 1998 Caldecott winner by Jane Yolen. This book is one of those great children’s books that are beautifully written and really appealing to kids. A young girl and her father go for a walk in the woods for her first trip owling. Yolen perfectly captures the excitement of a small child out for a grownup adventure with her father and the beauty of the still woods.

I reviewed this new book by Jim Arnosky last week as it’s on the non-fiction Cybils shortlist but it’s good enough to mention twice. I knew my boys would love this one and I was right. They discovered it in the book basket on their own and have enjoyed looking at it together, on their own and with me. John even got it out to read sections to his grandparents on the phone ( thank goodness for patient grandparents).

The other book we’ve enjoyed many readings of this week is this one by Narelle Oliver. A screech owl goes out hunting for food for its babies but on each page the prey camouflages itself. Each two page layout is a seek and find for the camouflaged animals. The drawings are wonderfully detailed. The owl does finally catch one of the other animals, which I suppose could be disturbing to some kids. It’s presented in a matter of fact, low key way. My kids were fine with it, we’ve always handled death in nature as just a fact of nature. The owl isn’t mean it’s just acting like an owl. I find my kids understand that idea well from an early age. This was a great book for all three of my kids, the boys in particular loved competing with each other to spot the animals on each page first.

We’ve also read some fiction books about owls. Martin Waddell’s Owl Babies is one of my favorite picture books so we had to go back and re-read it. Three owl babies are left home alone when their mother goes out hunting. They anxiously await her return.  The charm is in the interplay between the owl siblings, with the oldest trying hard to be brave and the youngest repeating the refrain “I want my Mommy.” It’s a very sweet book that all my kids have enjoyed. They still all like revisiting it but it’s best for the very young. We’ve also enjoyed Hoot by Jane Hissey and The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark by Jill Tomlinson.

This book by Greg Foley is a celebration of imagination reminiscent of Harold and his famous crayon.  Willoughby is a small boy afraid of the dark who is worried when the moon disappears. Imagine his excitement to find a giant snail and the moon in his closet. The snail has lost his silver ball and needs Willoughby’s help to find it. Don’t try and make sense of that story. Just trust me, it works well. The illustrations are all in black and silver ink and are stunning. We read the first Willoughby book last year which is also a beautifully illustrated ode to childhood imagination.

And finally, would any homeschooling study of owls be complete without the dissection of an owl pellet? No. No it wouldn’t. We’ll be doing the dissection on Friday but I’ve taken a look already at this new resource I ordered. We’ve done the owl pellet before but this book comes with a pellet and a very nice little book on owls that I think will make the dissection that much more worthwhile.

Be sure to stop by Hope is the Word for more Read Aloud Thursday!

11 thoughts on “Read Aloud Thursday: Owl Moon

  1. Oooh, thanks, lots of great owl-books! I think both my kids will like them. I’ve been planning to go find a bird sanctuary where we can see birds of prey up close, since my toddler is currently obsessed with eagles and owls, so these will tie in wonderfully!

  2. These look like some great books on owls. I reviewed Owl Moon two weeks ago but the rest are new to me. Can’t wait to check them out. The other day we were in our car and stopped behind a school bus when my son spoke from the back seat saying, “Look at that owl!” There was a huge, beautiful Barred Owl perched on the speed limit sign next to our vehicle. It casually looked over at us before taking flight. Amazing! There is just something about owls that makes us catch our breath. Very mysterious creatures of the night. Thanks for sharing these book finds today. 🙂

  3. Forgive me if you’ve already seen this, but here is a video link I got in an email from Cornell Lab of Ornithology today. It’s about snowy owls — very cool:

    I see some familiar titles, and some new ones, here. Fascinating subject! We dissected an owl pellet last spring… it was okay but not something I especially want to repeat. 🙂

  4. Hello Alice
    aaah the wonders of the internet! I’m Narelle Oliver and the author and illustrator of one of the books you have reviewed, “Twilight Hunt” I live in Australia and have been writing and illustrating picture books for about 25 years. “Twilight Hunt” was commissioned by a US publisher who had seen an Australian book of mine called “the Hunt” which features a Tawny Frogmouth – a bird which only lives in Australia and is a cousin to owls. (and camouflages in a rather unique way by mimicking a dead branch) She asked if I could do a similar plot using North American animals/landscape. To do the research for the book, I stayed with friends in Illinois who had the right forest and remnant prairie, and a screech owl on their property and also did research at the Field Museum in Chicago. I also visited an owl rescue centre and was able to sketch and photograph the owls. Many of my books feature animal adaptation as the key to the plot – (I’ve done 12 and you can see them on my website: http://www.narelleoliver.com) Some have US editions (The Best Beak in Boonaroo Bay, and Mermaids Most Amazing. Cornell University did some interesting kids activities based on the BEst Beak in Boonaroo Bay – they can also be found by googling) It’s very exciting for me to read your comments and know that North American families are enjoying “Twilight Hunt” .
    If your children (and readers) want to see a fantastic piece of film of an owl doing its camouflage trick, go to Youtube, and type in “transformer owl”. I do lots of talks in schools about my books, and I often show this. The owl is similar to the screech owl but is doing the trick out in the open in a wildlife park. It looks strangely like Count Dracula.
    It’s also a real treat to read blogs by parents who are so into encouraging reading. My own children are now 23 and 20, and it is a joy to still be able to discuss books with them that we are reading – even though my son’s taste is probably a little different to my own!
    sorry for the long post! Best wishes, Narelle

    • Thanks so much for commenting Narelle! It’s always such a thrill to get a comment by an author of a book we’ve enjoyed. And even more amazing the video you left! Thanks so much!

  5. Well, I don’t think I can top that last comment (I live it when I get comments from authors), but I did want to say that Owl Babies is one of my Favorite Picture Books Ever, and Owl Moon is about as perfect as they come. There is something about owls, isn’t there? In fact, I’m giving a copy of Owl Babies as a baby shower gift this weekend. 🙂

  6. Pingback: Read Aloud Thursday: Owls in the Family « Supratentorial

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