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by Alan Brown & illustrated by Rimantas Rolia

Age Range: 3 - 8

Pub Date: Sept. 11th, 2001
ISBN: 0-375-81417-5
Publisher: Knopf

In this delightful import, two owls learn the value of friendship and how important it is to express their feelings. Hoot loves his friend Holler, just as Holler loves Hoot. But although they play together every day, they are too shy to say, “I love you.” One night, the smaller Hoot is blown away by a gust of wind. Holler thinks his best friend doesn’t want to play with a big owl like him anymore, and is too sad to call out. Both are sorry they didn’t tell the other how much they enjoyed each other’s company. They search quietly, still not ready to express themselves. Finally, Holler seeks the aid of the Wise Owl, who tells him he must be brave and call out loudly or he will never find Hoot. So Holler goes out and looks in all their favorite haunts, getting louder and louder with each stop. In a touching ending, the two are reunited and never again have trouble telling each other how they feel. Rolia’s debut as an illustrator for children is a big success. The characters dominate every scene, dwarfing the background. At the same time, they are simply drawn, with just their main traits—the owls’ feathers, beaks, and feet, the rabbits’ ears and tails, the badgers’ characteristic black and white faces—so as not to detract from the emotion in the story. Brown captures young children’s feelings perfectly, with all the doubts and joys they feel in their friendships. Many a bedtime ritual in the future will end with “I love you-hoo,” for those children who are lucky enough to hear this lesson. (Picture book 3-8)