Owl Moon

by Jane Yolen

Paperback, 1987



Call number




Philomel Books (1987)


On a winter's night under a full moon, a father and daughter trek into the woods to see the Great Horned Owl.

Media reviews

(Children's Literature
Marilyn Courtot (Children's Literature) A gentle, poetic story that lovingly depicts the special companionship of a young child and her father as they take a nighttime stroll to look for owls. Complemented by award winning soft exquisite watercolor illustrations. Perfect for reading aloud and
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sharing at bedtime. 1988 Caldecott Medal, Notable Children's Book, Reading Rainbow selection. 1987, Philomel, $15.95. Ages 3 to 7.
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1 more
The Five Owls
Kenneth Marantz (The Five Owls, March/April 1988 (Vol. 2, No. 4)) The author of Owl Moon is one of the rarer breed of writers who take seriously the demanding task of creating texts for picture books without pandering. Although the story of going into a snow-blanketed forest with a full moon
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illuminating the darkness in search of an owl is told by a sixish-year-old girl, much of the syntax and vocabulary is adult. It's as if a woman were telling us (using the present tense) of a fondly remembered high point of her childhood. The parent-child bonding shines clearly between the lines as the pair trudge silently, attending to the woodsy stillness and listening for the "whoooo" that signals success. Simple but convincing, the warmth of the experience is kindled by the sensitively chosen words. Schoenherr's transparent watercolors take advantage of the white paper by evoking images of moonlight-splashed fields and luminescent patches of night sky. Father and daughter are honestly painted figures animated by strategically drawn black lines. Barest backgrounds are like stage flats, suggestions of pine trees. The text is set in short-lined vertical blocks in white spaces left barren for the purpose on the double-page spreads. Overall, the visual setting is competent, although the use of a heavily glazed paper destroys much of the subtlety of the watercolor medium. But the realism of the paintings fails to take proper advantage of the emotional content of the words. 1987, Philomel, $13.95. Ages 4 to 8.
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User reviews

LibraryThing member AbigailAdams26
A young girl and her father set out for the woods one snowy night, in this lovely, contemplative picture-book, the Caldecott Medal winner for 1988. Aware that she must be very quiet, the girl narrator struggles to keep up with her father, and - when they enter the darkness of the woods themselves -
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to be brave. Both are necessary, she informs the reader, when one is going owling, something she has been waiting a very long time to be allowed to do. Finally, in a moonlit clearing, with snow whiter than milk, the pair see what they have come for - a Great Horned Owl. After a moment (or one hundred) of magical connection, the owl flies on, and the tired pair head home...

Owl Moon is yet another of those classic picture-books that have long been "on my radar," but that I'd somehow never read, so I'm glad it was chosen as one of our "Winter Themed" selections, over in the Picture-Book Club to which I belong. I loved so many things about the book, from Jane Yolen's simple but evocative text, to John Schoenherr's beautiful watercolor artwork. The idea that sometimes the best and most magical experiences in life require effort and discipline, is worked seamlessly into the story, as is the notion that long awaited "treats" are especially delightful. The enchantment of the winter landscape is perfectly captured by both word and image here, and I particularly appreciated the fact that, even before they have seen the owl, the girl and her father are not alone, as a variety of woodland creatures observe their journey. The two-page spread in which the owl is depicted is simply breathtaking, allowing the reader to feel, with the two in the story, that sense of joyous culmination.

All in all, a delightful winter picture-book, one I highly recommend to all young nature and owl lovers, and to anyone who loves the cold enchantment of this season!
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LibraryThing member jerome25
This is a story about a girl and her Pa who go owling. As they trace through the snow, Pa hoots for owls. When they finally get an answer and see one, Pa shines his light on it and they stare silently. When the owl flies away, They go home and she can finally talk about they excitement.

This story
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reminded me of nature trips I took as a child. How quiet one has to be while looking. The adventure in this book is slow to me. It takes a while to build and when it hits the climax, the story is over.

After reading this to a class, I would take them on a nature walk. After we get back, tell them to write about what they saw.
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LibraryThing member Kandie1208
Late one winter night, a little girl and her father go owling. The little girl is very quiet as her father calls out to the owls: "Whoo-who-who-whoo." But the owl doesn't answer. They continue to walk quietly because when you go owling you don't need words, just hope. Her father calls out to the
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owls again, "Whoo-who-whoo-whoo." And this time the owl answers back! Sometimes there isn't an owl, and sometimes there is.
The illustrations are beautiful! I read this book to my children and they were so quiet. As is they were owling, listening for an owl to answer back.
Great story for teaching kids to be still and listen. Have the kids listen for an animal sound, and then guess what animal makes that sound.
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LibraryThing member conuly
This is a story about a young child who goes owling with her father. This is clearly important to her - there's a family connection, it's something she's wanted to do for a "long, long time".

The writing is simple. The pictures are majestic. I can't recommend this one highly enough, and I really
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wish I lived in an area where I could go owling too :(
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LibraryThing member sdorsey
One of the most descriptive books I've read.
LibraryThing member KENJOH
A father and his young girl travel across a snow embankment searching for a white owl. This story and "Me with you" are great examples of a positive male role model. He bundles his daughter up, walks with her, engages her in a passion of his, and shows his love for her. This book gives all those
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dad's who are excellent father's the credit they need. In the classroom this book would be great for introducing nocturnal creatures. Especially with the title "Owl Moon".
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LibraryThing member djd016
Owl moon is a story about a father and daughter going owling for the first time together. The daughter is excited but understands that the process is slow and quiet and you must have hope. In the end they share a breathtaking sighting. The daughter describes the sounds heard, movements made, and
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feelings she has while going owling with her father. She describes so descriptively that it feels like you are walking beside her.
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LibraryThing member pocketmermaid
Beautiful artwork, beautiful prose.
LibraryThing member kspannagel
This story is about a girl and her dad going owling. Owling is searching for owls by wandering through the woods and making owl sounds. They look for a long time until they come across the most beautiful owl she has ever seen.
LibraryThing member saralogue
What at lovely experience. This book not only tells us about a child's first trip owling with her father it also takes us along for the adventure. The illustrations are delightful and the descriptive language coaxes us into the scenery. We are allowed a window into a bonding experience between
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father and child and at the end of the book I wished for snow and I wished that I would have had someone to take me owling when I was a child.
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LibraryThing member jessy555
Genre: realistic fiction
Critique of Genre: This is a lovely example of realistic fiction because this little girl gets to go owling with her father for the first time. She knows that going owlng is a special thing and realizes that hope is all you really need.
Media: watercolor/pen and ink
LibraryThing member lleighton05
Genre: The girl and the father in the story go owling which could easily occur a late winter night. It is very realistic because in order for them to hear or see the owls they must be silent. The father calls out like an owl while the girl has to be quiet and not worry about being cold.
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The author provides details about owling that make the story very believable.
Setting: The story takes place at night when the girl is usually supposed to be in bed. It takes place in the woods in the middle of winter. Without this setting, this story would not be complete because it is the fact that they go out late at night during the winter that the father and girl are able to hear and see an owl. The setting is very essential to the story.
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LibraryThing member mrsarey
This short poem is a very good read aloud for students. The imagery is great and students will be able to have great discussions. Excellent book.
LibraryThing member SJeanneM
The illustrations in this book were beyond fabulous and all my children understood why the little girl was being so quiet with her dad while they were looking for owls and they both said how much the dad loved his daughter and then of course they wanted to go owl looking that night. Unfortunately
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for us, there aren't too many owls in suburban Portland, OR.
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LibraryThing member eecnelsen
This is a descriptive book both with illistrations and words. You actually feel like you are hunting in the snow for an owl. This book would appeal to children because of the hunt. You could also use it in teaching about owls and night life.
LibraryThing member champlin
Picture Book. This is a classic tale of a boy and his father going owling. They go out in the woods at night to spot an owl. They have to be very quite. The literature is beautiful and the illustrations show perspective and beautiful artwork. I would use this book to teach perspective and a
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different way of life. Some children who grow up in the city do not know life in the country.
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LibraryThing member landa69
This book was interesting to read. It was not a page turner for me but still interesting at the same time. A young boy and his father set out to do an old family tradition. The father takes his son out after dark and calls for owls. They wait in silence until they see an owl then they return home.
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The book is interesting because the boy is the narrator. The illustrations are beautiful and they fit well with the storyline. This books genre is Contemporary Realistic Fiction.
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LibraryThing member mkeenan
This is a story about a father who takes his daughter Owling in the woods at night. Beautiful illustrations accompany the story. The story is about the love of family and nature.

I enjoyed this book a great deal because of the personal connection I have with nature. This is truly a classic.

A nature
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walk with kids to point out the little details missed in everyday life would be a good extention activity.

Having the kids do some research about what types of Owls’ they might find in woods near them and then a collective poster board project presented to the class
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LibraryThing member amanda_c
This is a lovely story of a child going owl-watching with her father on a winter night.

Owl Moon is excellent for school-aged children as a story-time book, curriculum support or read-along.

This simple, beautifully told tale might not appeal to every child, but its
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lovely prose and illustrations will certainly capture some children’s imaginations.
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LibraryThing member BNededog
This is a book about a father taking his daughter out owling. Owling is where you go out into the woods and search for owls by using a certain call. When they first stopped to find an owl they had no luck. However when they tried a second time an owl replied to her fathers sound. This showed by
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never giving up on hope they were able to find an owl.

This book reminds me of traditions that are done in a family. I really liked the water paint effect on the pictures. This book reminds me how every family is different and has different traditions.

After reading this book I could have kids in the classroom draw three pictures, each of a differnt animal, and then to the side write what sound that animal makes. I can also have them write a small paragraph of a family tradition and share it with the class.
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LibraryThing member crystalr
Father son relationship. Great book that boys would enjoy
LibraryThing member Sandydog1
One of the best childrens books of all time. Simple and beautiful.
LibraryThing member tiburon
A lyrical story of a boy and his Pa who go out "owling" in the snowy woods. This is prose and very calming- a suitable bedtime story for people of all ages.
LibraryThing member srn006
Descriptive writing about a night-time owl hunt. Caldecott medal winner for illustrations. A father and daughter walk through the woods together.
LibraryThing member barnes08
This book is about a little girl who goes owling with her Pa. The little girl had been waiting a long time to go owling with her Pa. The setting is winter and at night time. The girl talks about how she had to make her own heat with her breath, also how she has to be brave even through the forest.
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They call for the owl by saying “Whoo~whoo~who~who~who~whooooo”. She had to be still. Final they saw the owl, after it left she could breath.

I like the art work. The book is more for 1st and 2nd graders. I like the intensity when they see the owl. The book over all was good; however, I wish it would have had more of the owl calling lines in the book.

Before reading to the children talk about owls and when is best to see an owl, like night time. Ask if anyone ever seen an Owl and have them share their experience. During the book have the children participated with the owl calling. After you read the book, ask how they would have felt if they were the little girl.
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Caldecott Medal (Medal Winner — 1988)
Texas Bluebonnet Award (Nominee — 1990)
Kentucky Bluegrass Award (Nominee — Grades K-3 — 1989)
IBBY Honour Book (Illustration — 1990)
Flicker Tale Award (Nominee — Picture Books — 1991)

Original publication date



0399238514 / 9780399238512

Other editions

Owl Moon by Jane Yolen (Paperback)
Owl Moon by Jane Yolen (Paperback)

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