Leaving the tree trunk where family slumbers, a fledgling owl explores the night world.
Wide awake, Owl hops out of the tree nest where mother, brother, and sister sleep soundly and, with a “Jump, Flutter,” and “Flap,” flies above the fall woods with its red and yellow leaves. Soaring upward, Owl’s eyes gleam in the moon’s beam while “Stars Twinkle” and “Mice Scamper.” Spying its reflection in some water, “Owl / Sees Owl,” causing the young bird to turn back home, flying above the mice beneath the stars, past moon beams gleaming in deer’s eyes, and over falling leaves to the family nest. The simple, often alliterative, onomatopoeic text forms a spare poem of single words arranged strategically on double-paged spreads to coordinate symbiotically with the luminous watercolor, colored pencil, ink, collage, and digital media illustrations, visually and verbally tracking Owl’s foray away from and return back home. Deft use of reflected light, bird’s-eye perspective, and a dark palette create an atmosphere of silent wonder. Observant readers will notice text and illustrations repeat in reverse order, beginning with “Home Mama Brother Sister” as Owl departs and closing with “Sister Brother Mama Home” as Owl returns safely home.
A perfectly paced, holistically rendered home-away-home story. (Picture book. 3-7)