Eva the owl chronicles 11 days in her life in the first in the Owl Diaries series for emerging readers.
Eva has received a new diary and uses it to record the details of her life, along with sunny drawings and photographs that make her diary more like a scrapbook. In between daily entries, she comes up with the idea of having a big festival at her school. Her teacher, Mrs. Featherbottom, thinks it’s a great idea but warns Eva to share the work with her classmates—which readers might already have inferred will be a challenge. When her rival, Sue Clawson, offers help, Eva stubbornly takes on most of the responsibilities herself. Bright and colorful digital illustrations, large type, frequent speech bubbles and a familiar story make this accessible to emerging readers. The 11 chapters and substantial number of pages will help these readers feel accomplished. Some of the wordplay (“owlementary,” “Winglish”) and invented owlspeak (“flaperrific,” “flap-tastic”) might trip up the intended audience, but they also make the story memorable. It’s hard not to think that if Eva spent more time getting ready for the festival and less time writing in her diary, she might not end up in the weeds—but then there would be no story, of course.
New readers need lots of choices, and this series promises to fill a niche for them. Keep flapping, Eva! (Fantasy. 5-8)