Martin Waddell wanted OWL BABIES to capture the "strong emotion of
'I want my mommy!' " that is so familiar to children. Martin
Waddell is the author of more than one hundred books for young
Patrick Benson enlarged his technique of cross-hatching for the illustrations of OWL BABIES so that it would have "a more graphic image rather like a woodcut." Patrick Benson is also the illustrator of THE LITTLE BOAT by Kathy Henderson and LET THE LYNX COME IN by Jonathan London."
Three worried owlets wait for their mother to return from her night flight. PW said, Benson's disarming cross-hatched pictures of fluffy, wide-eyed owl babies, and the use of light-colored text against a black background, turn this sweet story into a hauntingly lovely book. Ages 3-7. (Apr.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
PreS-- This simple story pales in comparison to the exceptionally well-crafted illustrations. Rendered in black ink and watercolor with an abundance of crosshatching used to show background, shadow, texture, and depth, each stunning woodcutlike panorama fills a double-page spread. Benson has chosen shades of turquoise, pale yellow, and light green for the large-type text in order to avoid detracting from the blue-and-green dominated paintings. Realistic as they appear, the three, fluffy, white baby owls and their mother are infused with distinct personalities. The owlets awaken one night to find their mother gone. Sarah, the largest, reasons that she is out hunting for food. Mid-sized Percy tends to agree, while tiny Bill will only repeat, ``I want my mommy!'' Mom, just out for a night flight, does return, of course, and her fledglings are delighted to see her. The repetition just doesn't work. The plot is too meager, the text too unexciting. Hutchins's Good Night Owl (Macmillan, 1991), Thaler's Owly (HarperCollins, 1982), and Yolen's Owl Moon (Philomel, 1987) are all better stories for preschoolers. Simple, well-written books about mother love and reassurance for this age group are abundant. --Susan Scheps, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH