An older brother learns a lesson about creativity and communication from his younger sister in this picture book set around Notre Dame de Paris.
Hoot, an owl, looks forward to spending time with his sister, Peep. Puffed up with a sense of his own importance, Hoot can’t wait to pass along his “owly wisdom.” Peep, on the other hand, is fascinated and inspired by her surroundings and expresses herself in a variety of un-owly ways that reflect the sounds around her—bongs, coos, whistles, and lapping water. Frustrated, Hoot rejects Peep’s creative, vaguely bebop vocalizations, prompting Peep to fly off alone. A somewhat facile change of heart brings the siblings together again to swoop and sing through the starlit night. The cartoony style of the characters, shown with big round eyes and sweet smiles, seems somewhat at odds with the dreamy, romanticized City of Light setting, but it fits well with the jaunty dialogue and cheerful message. The background is particularly lovely, painted in watercolor with some digital enhancements. Shades of blue dominate, providing an attractive counterpoint to the dusky browns and grays of buildings, streets, and gargoyles as well as to the brighter yellow, russet, and gold of the owls.
Not all readers will be convinced by the two birds’ swift rapprochement, but little sisters everywhere will be pleased by Hoot’s about-face, as will iconoclasts of all stripes (or feathers). (Picture book. 3-6)