Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Owls in the Family

Owls in the Family

Farley Mowat
Illustrator:  Robert Frankenberg 
For ages 8 to 10
Random House, 1996   ISBN: 978-0440413615

Billy, who has a great fondness for animals, has decided that he wants to have a pet owl, so he and his friend Bruce go off to look for an owl’s nest. They do manage to find one, but is soon becomes clear that the nest is far beyond their reach. The boys head home, accepting that there is nothing that they can do. Then a fierce storm blows down the owl nest tree and the boys find that one of the owlets has survived. Billy adopts the baby, or perhaps the owl adopts Billy. Which ever way round it is, Wol becomes a very much a member of Billy’s family. Not long after this, Billy rescues another owl, a very timid and retiring individual whom he names Weeps.

Soon Weeps and the irrepressible Wol are a permanent fixture in the neighbourhood. The two owls join Billy and his friends as they play ball, go for rides on their bikes, and as they have the kinds of adventures common to boys everywhere. At first the two birds walk everywhere, until they finally catch onto the idea of flying, though they never seem to quite figure out that they are owls and not boys.

Much to everyone horror, Wol discovers that hunting skunks is great fun,  and he and Weeps play a part in a pet parade. Then there is the time when Wol rescues Billy from some bullies, and the time when the owls and Billy’s dog Mutt go on the family summer camping trip.

This hilarious collection of stories about a pair of owls, their boy, and the times they share are sure to provide readers with hours of  laughter and enjoyment. Larger-than-life characters fill the pages and paint a wonderful picture of life in a Canadian prairie town. If only we all could have a pair of owls in our lives that are like Wol and Weeps.