This is the cover of Owl Moon by Jane Yolen and illustrated by John Schoenherr. This book won the 1988 Caldecott award. Told from a child’s point of view, the book describes the trek of a father and child through a snowy woods to go owling. This is the child’s first time, and along the way the child describes the landscape and the feeling of the cold and the snow. The child tells what he or she knows about owling, such as the need to be quiet and brave and that the chance of finding an owl can be variable. The child depicts the process of owling: calling out to the owl by imitating its sound. After they finally see the owl, the child emphasizes how much the experience impacted her, saying she feels like a shadow.
This book’s illustrations consist of beautiful watercolor landscapes that each span two pages. The illustrations are realistic, and the different brush strokes and the details created with the fine, dark lines give a great sense of texture. The detail given to the trees makes them fascinating to look at. Each one has different elaborately shaped branches, and many types of trees are shown. One can almost feel the coldness of the snow when looking at this book, for the vast white spaces contrasted with the darkness and detail of the forest truly create the illusion of snow. The illustrations sustain engagement, for they reveal a new and different scene and visual perspective with the turn of each page.
This book’s illustrations will capture the attention of young children and engage them as they scan the landscapes and feel as though they are being transported into the world of the book. I think this book is a great winter read and would be a good calming book to read in the classroom. Though this book is very calming and peaceful, it will also excite children as they anticipate the owl’s coming or what they will see next.
For more information about the author and illustrator, visit http://janeyolen.com/ and http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/15/arts/15schoenherr.html?_r=1