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BILLYWISE by Judith Nicholls


by Judith Nicholls & illustrated by Jason Cockcroft

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2002
ISBN: 1-58234-778-6
Publisher: Bloomsbury

Fragile and unsure, the new owlet breaks free from his shell only to be confronted with the question of his own identity. Peering out from his nest with large black eyes, Billywise encounters a small moth that asks, “Who are you?” His mother answers the question for him by insisting that with food, nurturing, and time; he will grow to prowl the air with confidence and skill. A squirrel happens by and repeats the moth’s query, but Billywise’s mother assures him that he will grow to be big and strong. Soon other owlets share the nest, making Billywise dream of space and of swooping through the dark night, lit only by the faint glow of moonlight. Encouraged by his mother’s words, Billywise gains the courage that he needs to step to the edge of the nest and leap into the sky. Climbing toward the moon, he finally claims his heritage, wings outstretched in a midnight-blue sky. Cockcroft’s (Daddy’s Lullaby, p. 563, etc.) luminous, full-bleed, speckled paintings on oversized pages highlight the intensity of young Billywise’s eyes and the beauty of the dark forest. Creatures, especially Billywise, are nearly life-sized in several spreads, adding to their allure. Group this with Martin Waddell’s Owl Babies (1992) and Jill Tomlinson’s The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark (2001) for a trio of owl comfort. (Picture book. 4-8)