Tuesday 29 March 2016

The Not So Wise Owl

This post includes affiliate links. See my disclosure here
Author: Robert James Parfett
Illustrator: Sarah-Leigh Wills
Graphics: Simon Hopkins
ChildrensStoryPublishers.com  2015

Review request from 'Authors Large & Small' and RJ Parfett.
Reviewed copy kindly sent to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Back of Book:
"The other oak dwellers at first
 couldn't see what was wrong with
the funny old owl in the tree."

Find out what has happened to poor Owl in this amusing tale of life in an oak tree. Will Owl ever be wise again?

Imagine you're a woodland creature in a predicament...you've got a serious problem (let's face it, Mother Nature isn't always in a good mood.) So, what do you do? Who can you turn to for some wisdom and advice? 

Well, if there's an owl nearby, you couldn't be blamed for thinking that, this sagely creature could have the answers to your problems. 

Not the case here I'm afraid! Owl is grumpy, tatty and has  a 'permanent scowl.' There's no twitting and twooing from this old bean.When the woodland creatures ask for advice, well, he just talks utter nonsense.  He has  'Not a snippet of wisdom nor a sensible word.'         
   My favourite double-page spread. Spider slowly climbs on to Owl's head to have a word in his ear. 
When Spider asks for advice about his breaking spider webs, unfortunately Owl is not much help.....

Owl's eyes grew wide then he started to sing
"Elephants only play jazz in the spring!
Rotten flamingos drink ketchup and squeak.
My Auntie Matilda just married a leek!"

Spider scurries away, wondering what's amiss with Owl. Where's the wise old bird he used to know? 

When the concerned woodland creatures gather to discuss their worries, it dawns on them that Owl is simply exhausted. All the pestering for advice by day, means he can't get a wink of sleep. The animals agree that Owl needs some well earned rest. 
Sleep-deprived Owl agrees and lays down the rules too-
"So when the sun shines please, leave me alone.
No pestering creatures! A question free zone!"
Problem solved! Owl is back to himself, his ridiculous scowl is gone and instead, he is the jolly wise bird he used to be

More from Missus B:

I'm a big fan of rhyming stories, so this book is a real treat of a read for me. It's rhythm & wackiness had me laughing out loud.The Owl character is unpredictable and ridiculous in a lovable way and Spike Milligan came to mind when I read this funny story.

To emphasize how unhinged Owl is, when he speaks, the text changes from simple font to a more curly, squiggly design, sometimes curving on the page. The only negative about the font is that at times it is not distinguished enough against the background colour or illustrations . When I am reading a story to a group, I like the lettering to be clearly visible , even if my audience cannot read or understand the text.

Children will certainly enjoy Owl's gibberish talk and nonsensical words. There's some great vocabulary within the story along with some nice sayings e.g. "Poor owl is so confused. He's all at sea!" There's a positive message conveyed also- lack of sleep may indeed cause you to be 'loopy.' 

The mention of 'the runcible* spoon' threw me a little, yet this 'runcible' word sounded familiar. I then realised that this is the author's nod to Edward Lear's nonsense poem The Owl and the Pussy-Cat. Could my two year old son talk- he would have told me that this word is in his little book of poems & rhymes.
To close, Owl happily perches in his tree offering advice as his jolly old self.
I love the water-colour & pencil  illustrations. Owl manages to look  grumpy, weary and wild-eyed with his tiredness, while Squirrel, Woodpecker and Spider all perfectly convey their confusion and worry. The characters are set in the lovely woodlands with soft greens and the gnarly oak tree surrounding them. 

Overall, The Not So Wise Owl is a big hit with me and one I look forward to sharing with my little listeners.

Happy Reading,
Missus B.

Book available at these affiliate links:


*So what exactly IS a runcible spoon? Here are a few interesting remarks :)

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