Elliott capitalizes on the success of her beginning-reader series Owl Diaries with a new Eva Wingdale story for the board-book audience.
Describing an abstract concept like love for young toddlers is difficult. Too often the concept is reduced to sugary platitudes. In contrast, Eva Wingdale’s straightforward explanation is sweet but far from saccharine. Brief rhyming text on the left paired with pictures of young owl Eva and her friends on the right make the abstract concrete. “I love lending a helping hand” is illustrated by a picture of Eva holding an umbrella for an owl friend. Sharing treats and “big laughs that reach my toes” are fairly easy to illustrate. “Dressing up in silly clothes” doesn’t seem to have much to do with love but is a convenient rhyme while conveying playful camaraderie. Eva is just as colorful and expressive here as in the beginning readers. Her friends and family are as diverse as one might expect from a collection of cartoon owls with bulging owl eyes, spindly owl legs, and bright, almost garish costumes. It takes some searching to identify Eva on each page. Her pink face, her only consistent characteristic, is sometimes obscured by the costume changes on each page. Still, it’s a positive and affirming message about love.
Sweet and playful, with clear examples of how to share love with friends and family. (Board book. 1-4)