from Top That Publishing
Illustrated by Sam McPhillips and written by Clemency Pearce.
So, my first impressions! First and foremost I love owls so that was a good start and I was immediately attracted to the lovely greeny blue, decoupage illustrative style. I love that the owl is a silent owl, and yet it’s drawn as being made from different coloured pieces of written on notepaper – it doesn’t utter a single word, but it’s literally made of them. Clever!
The narrative is beautifully simple, the owl sits in his tree observing the world around him, not uttering a single hoot. His fellow forest dwellers try to get him to make a noise by any means possible, including teasing him and telling him off, but to no avail! The owl remains silent……until he starts playing the bongo, the piano, the trumpet, the flute, the guitar and the big base drum. He might not want or be able to communicate with his voice, but he can make just as much noise and is obviously just as clever as the animals that were goading him earlier in the book. The last line goes:
The animals cheered, ‘What a clever bird!’ And Owl just winked without a word.
That line does make me laugh. I can’t read it without winking at the kids and grinning. Maybe I’m misinterpreting the book, but I understand it as meaning you can’t judge people by the chatter they come out with, they may be a ‘dark horse’ or a Silent Owl in this case. Something like that. That’s something I enjoy about this book, it’s very subtle and very simple, it doesn’t preach a message; it just very gently illustrates that everyone is not always as they seem.
When I asked Darlek what she thought of this she said she thought it was like one of her early reading books, I’m presuming that means she thinks it’s too young for her. Sausage, on the other hand, said he ‘liked all of it’ and wouldn’t elaborate any further – but he did sit quietly and listen to the tale and commented on the shape of the moon and named the different animals. The Silent Owl does seem to be better suited to approx 2 – 5 years. Darlek is nearly seven and said that she prefers something with a bit more detail to it.
The Silent Owl is all written in verse form which is great to read aloud, it flows nicely and there’s lots of opportunities for silly voices for the fox, and the squirrel and the mice etc. It’s also fun to get the kids to pretend to play the instruments too. I always think the more engaged children are in a story, the better it is and the more they get out of it.