Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Owl Moon

Yolen, Jane (Author)
Schoenherr, John (Illustrator)
Penguin Random House 1987. 32 pages
First published: 1987
ISBN: 9780399214578 (hardcover)
Original language: English
Book type: Picture Book

Text Elements:

figurative language, setting

Award

Caldecott Medal – 1988

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

A little girl and her dad go owling (owl watching) in the woods one winter night under the full moon. Longing for the sound of the Great Horned Owl to thread its way through the trees, they wait together in absolute silence, with the kind of hope “that flies on silent wings under a shining owl moon.” Eventually their patience pays off. Poetic text adds astonishing dimension and tenderness to this deceptively simple take on a father-daughter relationship.

This quiet, understated story is told through lyrical, image-based prose that helps readers visualize what is going on: “Our feet crunched/over the crisp snow/and little gray footprints/followed us.” The repetition of the father’s birdcall and the owl’s eventual response (“Whoo-whoo-who-who-who-whooooooo”) add an eerie atmosphere.

Muted watercolour illustrations have a wintry, nighttime feel and focus on the dark woods and the tall blue shadows of trees across the snow. The first-person free verse text gives the girl’s point of view.

This sweet, simple adventure, without all the bells and whistles of the fast-paced world, is a celebration of the quiet moments with family and of the importance of taking time to connect with nature.

  •  

    Close your eyes and listen to a section of the story being read aloud. Visualize the characters, setting and action. Describe what you visualized. Identify words or phrases that helped you visualize.

  •  

    What does the narrator see, hear and feel when she is owling? How does the author use metaphor and simile to describe these experiences? Work in groups with a small section of text to note examples of poetic language.

  •  

    How do the illustrations help communicate the mood of the story? Notice the use of colour (light and dark) and perspective (close-ups versus long shots) and discuss why the illustrator might have made these choices.

  •  

    Listen to the first page as it is read out loud. Make predictions about what lies ahead in the story.

  •  

    As the story is read aloud, observe how the illustrations help communicate the mood of the story. Notice the use of colour (light and dark) and perspective (close-ups versus long shots) and discuss why the illustrator might have made these choices.

  •  Explore and discuss how the author uses words to write about the cold, the silence, the peaceful atmosphere.
  • To construct his/her identity
  • To use information
  • Environmental Awareness and Consumer Rights and Responsibilities
  • Science and Technology