In her third outing (Owl Howl, 2011, etc.), Little Owl once again howls, this time in a toddler-esque fit over an escaped Blu-Blu.
Readers will understand that the Blu-Blu is a red helium-filled balloon, but the forest denizens who come to help Little Owl solve her problem must guess what it might be. Little Owl is increasingly upset that they can’t understand her, though not so upset that she can’t make comparisons—her Blu-Blu is round, not rectangular like the deck of cards Mole pulls out. And it definitely doesn’t smell like the stag beetle’s offering of a ball of dung—it flies. Young readers and their parents will empathize with Little Owl when she cries, “when I want something, I really, really want it!” Luckily, crow puts the clues together and saves the day, though not the Blu-Blu: children are not likely to see the ending coming. Goossens’ palette is dominated by a green so vivid it’s almost electric, and his forest friends are cute and cuddly. But while the almost glowing colors on the cover may attract readers, the story will not get them to stay; this lacks the specialness of the first Little Owl title, this time simply playing up the worst of toddler behavior.
One wonders how much longer the forest animals will respond sympathetically to Little Owl’s howls. (Picture book. 2-5)