Here’s a 1987 book for kids, which is arguably most notable for its illustrations by John Schoenherr. That won the Caldecott Medal for illustrations. Proper belting!
Now we’re almost sure this work is the one we remember from childhood. Our memory is a bit hazy, but if not then it all looks rather lovely all the same. Thusly, let’s take a look.
Imagine, if you will, Arnold Schwarzenegger narrating the above work. There, that’s how to make things a bit more engaging, eh?
This work has triggered many a birdwatching enthusiast. As fans of owls, we also inadvertently wrote our short story Hoot, owls hoot a while back (nice plug there, eh).
But as a book for kids, there are two essential things at play here. Pretty pictures and concise, impactful sentences.
It’s the story of a man bloke (aka father) who takes his miniature human female (daughter) owling on a winter’s night.
They discover an enormous one during their trek – a great horned owl. And they revel in the moonlit magnificence of the experience.
Right, so as with many books for children is a simple and gentle affair. Yolen chose a few different concepts to mark her work out, though.
First, it’s a story of a daughter with her father. The writer said she felt most kids books always showed the mother/daughter relationship.
It’s also a call out to birdwatching (and we can refer you to Joe Harkness’ Bird Therapy again here), plus the simple joys of family life.
Now, we don’t have kids but if we did then we’d read them this book and take them out owling as well. The natural world is important, y’all? Don’t forget!
Heck, we’d get this activity in pronto for any whippersnapper to remind them there’s a life away from a smartphone screen.
And now a bit about the author, who’s responsible for over 379 books!
Yolen lives in Massachusetts and has written about other things such as toads in space (we really want to read that one, to be honest). Her other works include How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight?
She’s reached the status of a Goddess of American childrens literature. And that’s impressive, as writing books for kids is difficult.
It may seem easy, but there’s a real skill to it as you can’t resort to f-bombs at the drop of a hat to liven up discourse.
No, you must use your imagination. And it’s a wonderful thing. Kids read these things, are left spellbound, and when they grow up there’s that happy memory left deep in your conscience.
And it’s all about the memories, whether it’s Roald Dahl’s The Twits for us or whatever kids book you loved.
With the stress of adult life, you can still find a quiet moment to hark back to your childhood years and revel in the simple and life-affirming joy of a work. Et merci!