Under Mama Owl’s guidance, Baby Owl learns all the secrets and joys of the night.
As the sun sets, Mama nudges her baby awake: “No more sleeping, little one! Wake up!” She takes the lead, flying out of a hole in the barn’s roof and into the night, with the baby owl tottering unsteadily behind. Rhyming text follows a Q-and-A format, with Baby Owl’s questions—“Hoo’ll catch me if I flutter and fall?”—followed by Mama’s responses: “Owl catch you, my dear, tail feathers and all.” Moths dance around the barn’s floodlight. Mama’s hooting serenade blends with the wolves’ howls. Wee hedgehogs play hide-and-seek and peekaboo in the leaves of the tree, foxes frolic (chasing mice and moths), and bats hang upside down from the branches. Baby Owl just has to try this. As they fly, mother and baby observe rabbits racing through the dark fields, a bear scratching its back against a tree, and a group of fireflies dancing and twirling through the night. Safely back home on a straw bed under the barn roof, Mama declares, “Owl always love you!” Heroux’s simple rhymes are a good bet for beginning readers, though the repeated pun—“Owl” for “I’ll”—becomes a bit twee. Kirwan’s painterly illustrations capture a lovely middle-of-the-night feeling with a deep, dark palette.
Sweet if not essential. (Picture book. 3-6)