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Owl Babies 02/13/09

Owl Babies

Last night I wrote about Harriet's favorite book, Mama Cat Has Three Kittens and tonight it's Sean's turn. His favorite book from the time he was Harriet's age has been Owl Babies by Martin Waddell.

Like Mama Cat, the Owl Mama has three off spring. Here three are Sarah, Percy and Bill. Bill is like Boris in that he's the odd one out. Where Mama Cat Has Three Kittens is about a parent teaching her children, Owl Babies asks if those lessons have been learned.

Sarah, Percy and Bill wake up one night to find their mother gone. Sarah and Percy work together to keep Bill (who is written as the youngest of the family) from getting too scared. All the while they are clearly worried about their mother.

Structurally Owl Babies and Mama Cat Has Three Kittens are nearly identical. Both use repetition of words and actions to build on their central themes. For Owl Babies, it's the growing dread of what happens if Mama never returns.

Happily though, the Mama does return and she seems bemused by her owlets fears. Her response echoes many times when something that has seemed common place to me has been full of unknown and therefore frightening to my children.

Comments (6)

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Comment #1: Saturday, February, 14, 2009 at 12:23:14

Girl Detective

Owl Babies is also a favorite in our family. I got it after I read about it in "I Don't Know How She Does It". I love Waddell's almost-rhyming, rhythmic prose, as I did in his "Farmer Duck". Also, one of my favorite illustrations, the far away look at the three tiny owls in the big tree, is only in the paper page version, not the board book.

Comment #2: Sunday, February 15, 2009 at 10:41:41


I don't think we've read any of Waddell's other books. Our copy of Owl Babies is an old library copy that was read to death before we got it.

Comment #3: Saturday, February, 14, 2009 at 14:54:04

Carrie K.

This was my Jonathan's favorite picture book - I couldn't read it to him enough! He loved to repeat with me on each page, "I want my mommy!"

Comment #4; Sunday, February 15, 2009 at 10:43:40


I've lost track of how many times I've read Owl Babies to my children. It's probably more than 100.

Comment #5: Wednesday, October, 14, 2009 at 23:34:09


Great book. :-) My mom got it for my kids... each one has their own copy (I have a little brother named Bill). My oldest loved this story when she was little. It's a great book and shows kids that it's ok to be worried when new scary things happen.
Great review of it.

Comment #6: Thursday, October 15, 2009 at 17:51:41


That's sweet that your mom got so many copies. We just have a battereed old copy but I think I'll get new copies in the future (assuming it's still in print) if my son ever has children. It's really his book. He's been enamored with owls since he was about 18 months old.

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