In the six years of motherhood we have navigated, I’m pretty proud of the impressive library of children’s books we have collected. Each one holds a special place in our heart as either one (or both) of our daughters have obsessed over the modern day classics, page after page, night after night.
From the shelf full of ‘That’s not my…’, to Julia Donaldson’s life work. Eric Carles greats and Roald Dahls favourites from my childhood. These pages have steered us through many storms – Thank goodness for Arlo and his glasses when our two year old needed some bespectacled moral support, and for Pip and Posy and their lessons in kindness when the waters have got choppy between the kids. A picture book really does speak to children and parents in ways words simply cannot, and we wouldn’t be without them at the end of the day snuggle and read (believe me we’ve tried on occasion, you know, just after a really long day!).
Yet it seems there is always room for another classic that you haven’t got your hands on yet…and when Walker Books invited us to review the 25th anniversary edition of ‘Owl Babies’, I couldn’t have been happier to add this ‘must have’ to our collection.
Tigs was of course over the moon to have a book she knew from nursery and school here at home, and proudly told her little sister that the baby owls are called ‘Owlets’.
The imagery in ‘Owl Babies’ is as lovely as I had imagined. The story of the three Owlets left alone in their nest is a gentle way of raising separation anxiety issues which are common in our own babies, especially when they may be undergoing change. Starting a new nursery, new school or perhaps having to have a brief period away from their parents. As each of the three owlets becomes more fretful, missing their Mummy owl, the book represents how a child may feel away from someone they love – trying to be brave, imagining all sorts and ultimately…wanting their Mummy.
Of course, the story has a happy ending and Mummy Owl soon swoops in to restore the nest to a place of safety, calm and love. It’s a story about the fear of being alone, about the frightening place a child’s mind can take them in the dark of night, and ultimately, about knowing Mummy will be back.
The imagery in the book is a stunning collection of natural night woodland scenes. The owlets, all fluffy and wide eyed are totally charming and loveable – engaging the reader in the story and perfectly encapsulating their anxieties – and relief – as the story unfolds.
In addition to the Owl Babies 25th edition picture book, we got our hands on a more recent publication to review too; ‘We found a hat’ by Jon Klassen.
Totally different in style and content from Owl Babies, this book follows the journey of two tortoises in a desert landscape through a series of events involving the discovery of a hat. (And with our own resident tortoise in our garden, we do love a hero in a half shell).
Split into three parts, the book speaks as much through the images as the words, and the expressions of the little tortoises are a huge part of the story. Reading this with our five year old was a total pleasure for both of us. We read the words (she was able to read the short simple sentences in clear bold text), but each picture was a whole conversation in itself. ‘What do you think the tortoise is thinking?’ being the question that really lets the child explore the unsaid words.
The story, to me, was about kindness and fairness, friendship and doing the right thing (even when it may not be what you really want). The artwork is both funny and beautiful, with the sunset and starry night scenes over the desert being the calming stunning backdrop to the story’s two star characters. The tale is quirky and random, both huge positives in my book, and clearly my daughters too.
This is absolutely a book that we both want to read again, and again, and again…to make us smile, talk and wind down at the end of a busy day and hectic evening. Everything a children’s picture book should be.
You can be in with a chance of winning a copy of these two books from Walker Books
by entering the Rafflecopter entry form on my giveaways page
Disclosure: We were sent a copy of these books for the purpose of this review. All opinions are our own.