A group of tiny owls face their first-day-of-kindergarten fears in this sweet debut from Ellen and Laurice.
At dawn, all the good little owls are going to sleep, excited but nervous about starting kindergarten the next night. Grecko is afraid the other owls will make fun of his missing talon; Luma worries that others won’t like his colorful wings; Little Hoot is nervous that she’ll be too small; and Melody worries she won’t make friends with an injured wing. The little owls’ families—a diverse group that includes single parents and older siblings as mentors—all offer the same encouraging song: “Be brave. Be kind. / And smile. In a while / Everything will be alright / It could be a super night!” The wise owl teacher welcomes the kindergarteners and helps each of them appreciate their special gifts, sending them home with greater confidence and fewer worries. Laurice’s beautifully shaded cartoon illustrations feature a range of owl types—spectacled, snowy, barn, pygmy, and barred—to highlight the owls’ differences and strengths and balance realistic owl features with anthropomorphic expressions. Ellen’s accessible prose is complemented by the rhyming verses seeded naturally into the dialogue, and the refrain will inspire lap readers to join in. Although Hunter is the title character, and does save the day, he’s one of a strong ensemble of likable youngsters.
These charming, differently abled owls give just the right comforting encouragement.