A photographic guide to a young barred owl’s first few months of life.
Otis the owl is born in a tree cavity. Holland cannot capture the nest on film because it is too deep, but she does get Otis’ wide-eyed look at the world for the first time when he climbs to the cavity opening. He’s just a little ball of fluff perched in a tree. Readers get a surprise when another ball of fluff appears. Otis has a sister! Touching on the general skills a young owl must learn to become independent (how to eat, strengthening wings for flight), Holland lightly dips in to this bird of prey’s life. Concepts such as predator and prey, nocturnal, and preening are explored, and a smattering of direct questions lend a conversational tone. Alas, Otis never flies triumphantly from the tree—he only perches on a limb at the story’s end—so there is not much resolution to this story of animal maturation cast as hero’s quest. Large blocks of text squeezed into recto (with one exception) page frames make for a monotonous design, but it does give ample room for photographs, which propel the focus.
May inspire budding owl enthusiasts. (additional information, activities) (Informational picture book. 4-7)