Owen

by Kevin Henkes

Other authorsKevin Henkes (Illustrator)
Hardcover, 1993

Call number

E H

Publication

Greenwillow Books (1993), Edition: 1st, 32 pages

Description

Owen's parents try to get him to give up his favorite blanket before he starts school, but when their efforts fail, they come up with a solution that makes everyone happy.

User reviews

LibraryThing member KarriesKorner
I would personally like to thank Kevin Henkes for writing the book Owen because it seemed like a gift to me and my son, Owen. The book Owen came out in 1993 and the person Owen came out in 1992. My Owen had a year to establish himself as a little human being and by the time he was a year old he had
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a comfort "LeLe" -- a Lambchop puppet with a soft wooly fleece and he sucked his thumb. I think maybe Kevin Henkes saw us at the park one day and became inspired by my adorable son, and wrote this beautifully illustrated and sweetly written book about a little mouse named Owen who sucks his thumb and has a comfort blanket named "Fuzzy." Henkes probably changed LeLe into Fuzzy to protect the innocent.

Owen (the book) is the story of a little mouse who can't go anywhere or do anything without his "Fuzzy." Fuzzy experiences life with Owen, 'eating and drinking' orange juice, ice cream and applesauce cake. Owen's parents don't think much about their son's attachment to his blanket until a nosey old neighbor -- Mrs. Twitter -- starts to suggest that Owen is too old for such a thing. Soon Owen's parents are telling him that Fuzzy is going to disappear and be replaced by a toy that is for big boys. Owen hides Fuzzy in the pants of his pajamas to avoid losing him. As Owen deals with the daily trials and tribulations of a 4-year-old (going to the dentist, getting a haircut), Fuzzy is called into service on a regular basis.

So begins gentle nudging from Owen's parents to make him give up Fuzzy before he begins going to school. They resort to such tactics like dipping her in vinegar and outright telling Owen he may not take her to school. Owen's tears at losing his friend gives his mother an idea, and soon Owen is able to take Fuzzy to school without anyone realizing it. Owen is once again smiling and happy.

Henkes drawings are delightful, and Owen is as cute as he can be with big mouse ears and a sweet little face. Each picture correspondes with the text so younger listeners will be able to follow along with the words and pictures in a read-aloud. Henkes also captures Owen's imagination as he pretends he's Captain Plunger (in the bathroom), he's marching in a parade, and playing in the backyard. If we remember our own children playing, it'll be easy to see a little bit of Owen in each of them.

One of the things Henkes does so endearingly in this book is show how conflicted Owen's parents are about making their son give up something he loves. As parents a lot of us have been there, and it's broken our heart as much as our children's heart to try and force them to stop doing something that makes them feel good, i.e., suck their thumb, twirl their hair, rub their face with the satiny part of their blankie, or idly thumb the fleece fuzz on their LeLe. I've been there thinking, what difference does it make if my Owen sleeps with LeLe or not? When he goes to college he likely won't take her with him, so was it necessary for me to tell him to be a big boy and give her up? I would've upset Mrs. Twitter because I never took my Owen's LeLe from him.

On a very basic level Kevin Henkes wrote this beautiful story and it will endure the test of time as long as human beings need love and comfort. In fact, one of our most basic human instincts is to comfort ourselves when we're stressed, sad, lonely, or upset. Owen (the book) touches at the heart of that basic need, and I was reminded of that when I watched Owen (my 16-year-old son) idly touch the wool fleece insert in his jacket -- just like he used to touch LeLe when he was three-years-old and needed comfort -- as he was telling me about his girlfriend breaking up with him. It made me want to get out our copy of Owen and read it to him. [close]
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LibraryThing member KatherineLo
Owen is a young mouse who loves his blanket, he takes it everywhere. His parents and the nosy neighbor think Owen is too old to carry around this blanket. They try several different ways to get Owen to give up the blanket. After several failed attemps Owen's mother decides to make his blanket into
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several handkerchiefs, so he will be able to carry around a piece of his blanket everwhere he goes. This book is great to show children about problem solving and how to let things go that they love so much.
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LibraryThing member delzey
Here we have another one of those picture books that on its surface appears to be about one thing but has a truly odd undertone running through it.

The issue at hand appears to be another version of childhood separation anxiety, this time with a baby blanket. Owen is on the eve of entering school
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and it is time for him to put away the blanket he has loved since he was born. But how to separate Owen from his Fuzzy is a delicate issue, and no matter how much they try nothing seems to convince Owen that it's time to give up his friend. In the end his mother comes up with a solution where Owen can have his fuzzy with him at all times... by converting his blanket into a dozen smaller handkerchiefs.

Well, that's all very nice, but there's an odd catalyst in this book in the form of a nosy neighbor named Mrs. Tweezers. She's there on page one looking over the fence at a happy Owen playing with Fuzzy, with a glance that can be viewed as either concerned or disapproving. A few pages later when she reappears we know which look it was when she says "Isn't he a little old to be carrying that thing around?" And with this illustration the faces of Owen's parents register concern. A concern they never had before. A concern that suggests perhaps they might be bad parents for not addressing the issue sooner.

Mrs. Tweezers suggests the Blanket Fairy, a ruse designed to help separate Owen from his blanket through trickery. But Owen's attachment to his blanket allows him to unwittingly outwit his parents by hiding the blanket. When he tells his parents the fairy didn't come they attempt to shame him for it by suggesting that Fuzzy's torn, dirty, rattiness are the cause.

Fuzzy continues to accompany Owen until Mrs. Tweezers once again leans over the fence and meddle in her neighbors affairs. "Haven't you heard of the vinegar trick?" And once again Owen's worried, concerned parents feel neglectful for not having heard how to properly raise their son. When dipping Fuzzy into vinegar doesn't work Mrs. Tweezers once again meddles, this time making it personal.

"Haven't you heard of saying no?"

Saying no, without an explanation or any attempt to reason with Owen, has the expected outcome of creating a greater anxiety in Owen. This is when Owen's mother suddenly has the brilliant idea to turn the blanket into handkerchiefs. And in the end, Mrs. Tweezers approves with a wave of her own hankie.

What a horrible message. Listen to your meddling neighbors tell you how to raise your child? Get your child to conform to someone else's expectations? If you can't separate your child from their security blanket through trickery simply say "because I say so" and leave it at that? What really irks me about the Caldecott Honor book is that it seems to send the subtle message that conformity begins in the home, and only bad parents don't know or realize this.

I think we all want to raise children right, however we define "right," but not at the suggestion of a neighbor (who, despite being married, shows no sign of having raised any kids herself). Blanket issues are huge, and I can see the value in a book that deals with them openly, humorously, but not like this. Owen is never told why he cannot bring a blanket to school, never fully prepared for the separation, and seems too ready to accept his blanket begin cut where most kids even resist allowing it to be washed, much less cut.

And all of this is for what? Mrs. Tweezer's approval? She's there on the first and the last page, so clearly she is as important as Owen. So pay attention, children! Your nosy neighbor is a force to be reckoned with. She can manipulate your parents and get them to raise you according to her standards. And without her approval who knows what might happen. She and her chicken-legged house might carry you off to the forest and...

Sorry, got a little carried away there.
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LibraryThing member LanitaBostic
Owen loved his fuzzy blanket. He took it everywhere with him. He took it upstairs, downstairs, outside, inside. Fuzzy liked many of the thingss Owen liked. Fuzzy liked orange juice, grape juice, chocolate milk, ice cream, peanut butter, and applesauce cake. Fuzzy was very dirty and mom and dad were
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trying to come up with new ways to get rid of the fuzzy blanket. Nothing worked, until it was time for Owen to go to school. He wanted to take fuzzy. Mommy said fuzzy was too dirty and, could not go to school. Mommy cut fuzzy into little squares. Now Owen has a hanky to take to school evrery day. Fuzzy still goes evreywhere with Owen.
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LibraryThing member t1bclasslibrary
Owen carries his blankey everywhere and adores it. The blanket is about as ragged as you'd expect, and everyone says he can't take it with him to school. His mother, however, comes up with a solution- she makes it into handkerchiefs!
LibraryThing member ac008233
This is a book about a little mouse who is extreamy attached to his blanket. His parents try everything to get him to throw it away. With school approaching they don't have much time.
I had a special "blankie" when I was a child, so I really related to this book. It brought me back to that time
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when my parents tryed to get me to be a "big girl".
This would me a great book to read to a child who is about to start school. This book is written for a pre-school audiance.
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LibraryThing member conuly
Owen clearly has a problem. Kevin Henkes doesn't shy away from letting us know, through the illustrations, that his problem is a buttinsky neighbor.

Unfortunately, Owen's parents listen to their neighbor and keep taking her dubious advice about his blanket. Of course, Owen really *can't* bring his
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blanket to school - but his parents finally stop thinking of Mrs. Tweezers' view of things and come up with a bright idea - they turn Fuzzy into handkerchiefs! Perfect solution and everybody's happy.

Great ending, and I do love Owen's passive resistance to his parent's obsession.
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LibraryThing member meallen1
This book was about a little mouse named Owen who carried a yellow blanket everywhere he went, so his parents were trying to get rid of it and give him a big boy toy but Owen didn't want to get rid of it. Then his mom decided to cut his blanket up into different pieces so Owen could take a piece of
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the blanket with him everywhere he goes. This would be a good book to read to kindergarteners because alot of kids have problems getting rid of their comfort toy but there are different ways to keep it but just have it in a different form, so there not so much of a baby anymore.
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LibraryThing member NancyStorm
Excellent book about starting school and wanting to bring along a favorite blanket, toy, or possession and how one smart mother solved the age-old problem. Great illustrations. One of Henkes best.
LibraryThing member Cottonwood.School
Owen's parents try to get him to give up his favorite blanket before he starts school, but when their efforts fail, they come up with a solution that makes everyone happy.
LibraryThing member mhackman
Kevin Henkes is a master. Owen has a normal obsession with his blanket. His pesky neighbor, Mrs. Tweezers, criticizes his obsession and encourages his parents to rid him of the habit. Owen's mom has a creative solution that suits everyone.
LibraryThing member carlabrite
Owen is a little mouse who carries a blanket EVERYWHERE he goes. Owen is very attached to his blanket. Even though the grown ups don't like the fact that Owen carries the blanket Owen doesn't want to give it up. Mrs. Tweezers gives mom and dad all sorts of things to try to get Owen to give up his
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blanket, but to no avail. Finally, mom cuts up Owens blanket into handkerchiefs for Owen. Owen opts to share with Mrs. Tweezers by giving her a handkerchief made from his blanket. This story is very sweet and since I carried a blanket for way to many years to note I can relate with Owen. This story could be used to help with transitions from parents at the beginning of the year. This story could also be used to promote growing up.
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LibraryThing member StephanieWhite
Owen's parents are struggling with how to take away his blankie. A neighbor gives advice, but Mom finally finds the trick. She cuts blankie into handkerchiefs so Owen can continue to carry blankie to school.

As a mother of a four-year-old with her own blankie, I can certainly relate to this story.
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Madeline's blankie is white with holes and stains, but she loves it! It is so soft and she holds it up next to her face when she sleeps. We've taken it away, but Mommy gave in and she's sleeping with it again.

As my first extension idea, I would invite children to show off their own attachement objects. As a class, we could all share a small piece of a special blankie.
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LibraryThing member smmote
Owen has a fuzzy yellow blanket that goes everywhere with him that he has had since he was a baby. Fuzzy goes whereever Owen does and likes everything that he likes. Owen's parents thought that he was getting to old to carry a blanket around, plus Fuzzy was torn, ratty, and dirty. Owen's parents
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want him tp put it under his pillow at night and let the blanket fairy come to get it adn replace it with a big boy gift, but that didn't happen. Mrs. Tweezers (neighbor) tells Owen's parents about the vinegar trick and saying no, so that Owen doesn't bring Fuzzy to school. Instead, Owen's mother comes up with a great plan to snip the fuzzy blanket into pieces and sewed them like small pieces of handkerchiefs. Now Owen and his parents were both satisfied and he still got to take a litte piece of Fuzzy with him everywhere he went.
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LibraryThing member KeriMullins
Owen is about a young mouse who is attached to his baby blanket. His neighbor and parents think Owen is to old to be carring around a blanket and his neighbor suggests to Owen's parents a few ways to get Owen to give up his blanket.

I really liked this book. The story relates to children who are
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attached to a blanket, doll, etc. The book has colorful pictures that help tell the story.

You could use this book in the classroom to show young children they're not the only ones attched to a blanket or doll, and it's ok to have something special to carry with them.
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LibraryThing member mixona
This book is about a little mouse named Owen who has a special attachment to a blanket, which he has lovingly named Fuzzy. Owen carries Fuzzy all the time, but soon it is time for him to begin Kindergarten. Encouraged by Mrs. Tweezers who thinks Owen is too old for a blankie, Owen's parents try all
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sorts of things to get Owen to lose his attachment to Fuzzy. When Mrs. Tweezer's advice doesn't work, Owen's mother finally comes up with the perfect solution that makes everyone happy.

I personally never had a special attachment to anything. However, a cousin of mine has a stuffed bunny named Sally. My cousin carried Sally everywhere, but I'm not sure if her parents faced the same dilemma that Owen's parents did. Still, I know that my cousin's bunny means a lot to her because she is 12 and lives in Oklahoma City, but when she came down for my grandfather's funeral, she brought Sally. I really thought this story was sweet and if my cousin was younger, I would give this book to her as a present so she could realize that lots of kids have special attachment items.

As a classroom extension idea, I would encourage the students to bring their own special items from home and have a show-and-tell; they could even tell stories about how they grew up and learned to leave their beloved item at home. Since this book is illustrated using watercolors, as a art project, the children could paint their own picture of Owen and his Fuzzy using watercolors.
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LibraryThing member alprince
This book is about a little mouse named Owen who had a blanket that he was so dearly attached to. He carried "Fuzzy" where he went and would not go anywhere that "Fuzzy" could not go. Owen's parents tried everything they knew to get rid of Fuzzy. When it was time for Owen to start school, his
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parents were determined to get rid of his blanket. His mom made hankerchiefs out of Fuzzy that Owen could carry in his pocket where he went. Owen was satisfied and always had a piece of Fuzzy with him. I would use this book for children in kindergarten who are having a hard time letting go of something.
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LibraryThing member vabrazzolotto
Owen is a little boy who has a blanket called fuzzy. He carries fuzzy everywhere. The neighbor, Mrs. Tweezers, tells Owen's parents that he may be getting a little old to carry a blanket with him everywhere and tells them about the "blanket fairy." Owen's parents tell him that if he leaves fuzzy
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under his pillow the blanket fairy will come get him and leave a great big boy surprise. Owen stuffs fuzzy in his pants so the fairy can't take him. Then Mrs. Tweezers tells his parents to put vinegar on the end he puts in his mouth. Owen just finds another end. The first day of school in near and Owen's parents tell him he cannot bring fuzzy to school. Owen cries and cries. His mom decides to make fuzzy into several handkerchiefs. Owen carries one with him in his pocket everywhere.
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LibraryThing member jbbarclay
Owen is a young mouse that is obsessed with his blanket named Fuzzy. He does everything with his blanket and will not ever leave it behind, no matter what. Owen's parents don't want Owen to bring Fuzzy to school so they try lots of ideas to get rid of Fuzzy but none of them work. Finally Owen's
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parents cut Fuzzy up and turn him into a handkerchief. Now Owen carries his handkerchief everywhere.
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LibraryThing member Celtics87
Owen is a story about a mouse who wants to be able to keep his yellow fuzzy blanket forever. It is a loving story. In the end, Owen's mother finds a way for Owen to keep his blanket forever! It is a great parent/child read, especially for those children who are attached to a particular item -
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blanket, passy, teddy bear.
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LibraryThing member sbhoward321
Owen is about a little boy who has a blanket named Fuzzy. Owen loved Fuzzy and took him everywhere. When school was about to start, Owen's parents got worried and tried many different ways to get Owen to give up Fuzzy but none worked. Finally, Owen's mother thought to cut up Fuzzy into a ton of
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different handkerchiefs so Owen could still carry little parts of Fuzzy around.
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LibraryThing member paroof
Perhaps one of my favorite books of all time. Owen loves his blanket and takes it everywhere. Everyone is happy until his nosy neighbor stirs up trouble by asking his parents about Owen taking the blanket to school and proceeds to give suggestions on how to get Owen to give up his beloved blanket.
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His parents try each suggestion and each suggestion fails. Finally Owen's mother comes up with a solution everyone can live with. Simply irresistible.
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LibraryThing member Madalyn333
This is a cute story about a little mouse whose name is Owen. Owen is attached to his blanket and he brings it everywhere with him. At the end of the story, Owen's parents think of a way where Owen can keep his blanket forever. This is a great story read aloud story to read to students. The story
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is the most appropriate for intermediate readers.
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LibraryThing member vnwender
Owen is attatched to his blanket Fuzzy. He takes this blanket everywhere he goes. His parents are trying to find a way to break his attatchment since he is starting school soon. They come up with ways and excuses like it is too dirty or it is torn. None of these ideas work. Finally at the end of
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the book she comes up with a way that he can have his blanket all of the time. She cuts the blanket into small hankerchiefs so that Owen can carry it everywhere. This is a good book for young readers because they can relate to the situation. They have probably at some time in their life had to seperate from something that they were use to carrying with them all of the time. It could have been a dool, blanket, pacifier, etc.
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LibraryThing member ShellyCBuchanan
This is the story of little Owen who loves his blankie and wants to take it everywhere always. His neighbor disapproves of this habit and attempts to convince Owen's parents to wrest it from him. Ultimately a compromise is reached that satisfies all. Henkes charming and vibrant illustrations
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perfectly compliment this tender story that most all children can relate to by personal experience. I do wonder if some might object to the compromise that is finally reached at the end, which to me seems a bit extreme and perhaps not the best alternative.
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Awards

Caldecott Medal (Honor Book — 1994)
Nebraska Golden Sower Award (Nominee — 1996)
Boston Globe–Horn Book Award (Honor — Picture Book — 1994)
Utah Beehive Book Award (Nominee — Children's Picture — 1996)
Pennsylvania Young Reader's Choice Award (Nominee — Grades K-3 — 1996)
Buckeye Children's & Teen Book Award (Nominee — Grades K-2 — 1997)
Grand Canyon Reader Award (Nominee — Picture Books — 1997)
Reading Rainbow Program Selection (Selection — 119 — 1996)

Pages

32

ISBN

0688114490 / 9780688114497
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