Title: Otis the Owl
Author and Photographer: Mary Holland
Publisher: Arbordale Publishing
“Otis finds the courage to climb out and perch on a nearby limb,” Mary Holland writes in the story section of her children’s book, Otis the Owl.
~ What ~
This thirty-two unnumbered page paperback with a thick folding jacket cover targets children ages five to eight years old who enjoy educational information about owls. It may be best read out loud by adults to beginner readers due to some complicated wording.
In this short story, the early life of Otis the barrel owl explains how he hatched after four weeks in an egg, uses his talons to climb to the tree hole’s entrance, has a sister he does not always get along with yet preens, eats the prey his parents provide, and gets ready to fly so he can catch his meals.
The last four pages have more educational tools of learning activities for creative minds that involve information about owl pellets, a game of what the creatures eat, different types of owls, and their anatomy.
~ Why ~
What makes this book interesting is not only the section on an owl living in a tree and learning how to climb out and fly away but also the facts regarding how the birds cough up skeletons, also eat frogs, snakes, and skunks, and that their ears are on the sides of their heads, not tops. Any child will enjoy looking at the close-up photographs while learning about these birds.
~ Why Not ~
Those who do not like owls may steer away from this educational book, but they may learn a thing or two. Most of the photographs are of a tree with an owl or two peering out of a hole so may not be engaging to all viewers. Having two scenes of dead animals in the owls’ mouths may concern or upset some young children.
~ Who ~
Award-winning children’s book author, Holland is also a naturalist, nature photographer, and columnist living in Vermont with her dog. Having worked as a naturalist at New York’s Museum of the Hudson Highlands and the Massachusetts Audubon Society, she has written several children’s books.
~ Wish ~
With the young owl mainly being shown at its nest in the tree hole, it would be helpful if more scenery or different locations were included. I wish more books like this were available that had a story yet provided knowledge and information that a young child could learn in a fun, engaging way.
~ Want ~
If you are looking for a book about the early life of barrel owls for kindergarteners to third-grade children, this may be an interesting read.
Thanks to Arbordale Publishing for this complimentary book that I am freely evaluating.
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GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.