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Owls in the Family
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Owls in the Family

4.03 of 5 stars 4.03  ·  rating details  ·  2,389 ratings  ·  182 reviews
Every child needs to have a pet. No one could argue with that.

But what happens when your pet is an owl, and your owl is terrorizing the neighbourhood?

In Farley Mowat’s exciting children’s story, a young boy’s pet menagerie – which includes crows, magpies, gophers and a dog – grows out of control with the addition of two cantankerous pet owls. The story of how Wol and Weeps
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Paperback, 112 pages
Published July 1st 1989 by McClelland & Stewart (first published January 1st 1962)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Brad
Dec 19, 2011 Brad rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Milos & Bronte & Scoutie & Noah
I don't know how true these memories are, but they are my memories, so they are true enough for this. Around 34 or 35 years ago, I went into my elementary school library and talked to Mrs. Dogleash (surely Mrs. Dalgliesh, like the famous Liverpool footballer and manager, but we always thought of her as Dogleash). I needed a book. She gave me Owls in the Family.

I remember the orange-gold shag carpet of my bedroom where I sat and read in the evening. I remember a flashlight and my crocheted blank
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Katie
I remembered loving this book from when I was a kid! My sister's favorite animals were owls, so we were in awe of Farley's family who had two pet owls. After looking around for this book in the library, I finally ordered it off Amazon. It was so worth it! It was a quick read of 3 sittings and all three of my kids loved it and we all laughed and laughed. I've liked most of Farley Mowatt's books, but I've never read his most famous book: Never Cry Wolf. Someday I'll get to that.
Carolyn
This book made me miss my dad. It's the true story of a boy who raises two owls and the various adventures they have together. It both reminded me of him, and reminded me how much he enjoyed animal stories. I love that this book is still on our library's Battle of the Books list. It is so not politically correct and I loved for that. I loved that the father claimed he was going to give his son a whopping, that they dressed the owls in doll clothes for a pet parade, that the father guns down as m ...more
Emily
Read this several years ago, and I remember liking it. I read it with a group of kids when I was working as a paraeducator.
Alexis
Re-read as a tribute to Farley Mowat on the day that he died. I loved this book as a child and it holds up surprisingly well. Mowat is a gifted and talented writer, and his work is both simple and descriptive. I also loved the references to Saskatoon- he refers to the railroad bridge and Spadina. I just learned that Farley Mowat had a column in the Saskatoon Star Phoenix when he was 13 years old.

When I was small, I was convinced that this book was a true story. I only discovered last night that
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Kristi
Description: So. Supposing you lived in a town on the Canadian prairie. Then supposing you had a chance to take home a couple of orphaned great horned owls. Then, supposing said owls grew to full size, liked to nibble on people's ears, teased your dog, fought with skunks (yup! during dinner!), followed you to school, climbed trees... and couldn't fly. What a summer that would be! It's unpredictable. It's funny. And it's all true!

Concerns: None.

Summary: Maybe my personality has biased my outlook,
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Michael Stewart
So full of wonderful references and details. I think the best word for it is: Delightful. Perfect for the 9-10 year old in your life. It also recalls a free-parenting world in which kids could just be kids. RIP Mr. Mowat
Abby
Required reading in grade school, this episodic story is one I never forgot. I just love the style and tone of this quick read and I wish there was a snazzy re-print so I could hand this one out to families like candy.
Karen
Jacob's choice. Funny story about the antics of two owls. Great story for kids to see what fun they can have in nature and with pets. We loved it.
Tori
So, this book is cute and easy to read. The problem I had with it was it's supposed to be humorous, but I found it a little bit sad. I don't know if I'm just weird that way or what, but other people would probaby enjoy it!
Abe
Owls in the Family is a very good book, but I don't think there's really a main problem (though there is a main idea). Also, I think there are a lot of unimportant details.
Czarny Pies
Oct 06, 2014 Czarny Pies rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone having a pet owl.
Recommended to Czarny by: My mother bought it for me.
This is a fabulous Canadian variation on the boy and his dog genre. It is a novel about a boy and his owls. I loved this book when I was 9 years old but neither of my sons did which suggests that the era for this book may have come and gone.

Don't buy it. However, I would certainly suggest borrowing a copy from the library and seeing if it ignites a spark with your child. I would not persist any longer than 20 minutes in such an effort. Overall, the quality of literature for children and young pe
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Amanda Cram
Great book about a young boy and his pet owls. Taken from life experiences of the author, it is a fun book to read aloud with your children. My boys (4 and 6) laughed at many of the adventures. I thought it was a good, wholesome book. I also looked forward to seeing what happened next - the adventure is high and unpredictable.

There are a few topics that may make some parents uncomfortable - there are two chapters that have a bit of bullying and animal cruelty. They are not graphic, just the auth
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Josh
Read this as a kid, and just re-read for fun. I was hoping I'd like it just as much, and I did. Can't wait to read it to our kids in a few years.
Amy
A cute little story I read for my World Lit for Children course. Made me remember all my horrible attempts to catch wild animals for pets when I was a kid. I distinctly remember rigging traps with a box or a crate over some sort of animal food, propped up with a stick that had string attached; it never caught me the groundhog next door. I also definitely never managed to catch any birds with my genius method of leaving a trail of bird seed right up to a birdcage with an open door, though I tried ...more
Raelene
Loved this book in elementary school. The adventure was gripping and the antics always thrilling to a little girl with a big imagination.
Zack
Synopsis: A boy from Saskatoon adopts a pair of owls.

Thoughts: Gosh, they don't write books like this anymore. The synopsis above really isn't leaving much out: kid finds some owls, they live in a chicken-wire enclosure in the backyard, eventually (spoiler alert) they have to go live on a farm somewhere. Not a euphemism, by-the-by, they actually go to live on a farm somewhere. Contrast with a recent and popular children's book series about owls, wherein a heavily-personified rag-tag bunch of owl
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Janeschmidt
This was our first chapter book with our 2 1/2 year old who loves owls. I rescued it from the discards from my library - it had last been checked out in the '80's. My husband said that if books had souls, this one would be happy. Our son just loved it. We agreed we would read one chapter at a time before bed.

Each night as we got his jammies on after the bath, we'd talk about what happened in the previous chapter. His favourite part was the parade when the boys had a rattlesnake hiding in a box
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Kathleen Dixon
What a thoroughly delightful book.

I do some part-time work in a bookshop, and an elderly fellow came in asking if we had any books by Farley Mowat, "Owls in the Family" in particular. We didn't. Nor did any of our NZ distributors have it on their lists. So I did some looking around on the net and found a place to order it from.

Now, I've been collecting owls as long as I can remember - wait a moment, that's an elaboration of the facts. I've been collecting owls, probably since I began working (in
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Nathan
I've had some luck recently with rereading childhood books. I love recapturing the feeling I had when I read them the first time. When it's just as good reading it as an adult, you know you've got a great book on your hands (cough, The Giver and My Side of the Mountain).

Anyway, this book is another that I vaguely remembered from being a kid. I've always had a bad memory for the years before my 12th birthday and so this book became "that owl book" in my mind. I couldn't remember anything else abo
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Elaine
What a quaint and humorous story from a bygone era, when kids roamed the prairie freely and knew all about the area's birds and critters. It wasn't 'laugh-out-loud' funny, but the quirky stories about life with the adopted owls were pretty amusing, and I'm sure kept life interesting in their family! T liked it enough to finish the book, but wasn't enamored by it, and didn't like the ending. I think the sense of humor of today's kids just isn't quite the same as kids of the past.
Fred Ann
I was previewing this book as to its suitability of my 9 year old granson who loves Owls. I think he will love this delightful story and as well he will learn about a prairie environment and learn a prairie vocabularly. Two pet owls in a family which also has many other wildlife pets. a merry menagerie in the household. Yes, a good and entertaining read for a young or older reader!
Amira
I remember this book bring read to my grade 1 class. I lived in Saskatoon at the time so it felt a lot more real to us. I desperately wanted a pet owl and have loved great horned owls ever since. On re-reading it as an adult, I still found it hilarious and wonderful and a part of me wishes I'd spent longer in Saskatoon. The ending broke my heart just a little bit
Janieh Hermann
This was my favourite Marley Fowat book when I was young. I would go on to read everything he wrote, but Owls in the Family had a special place in my heart. When I heard the news that Mr. Mowat had passed away earlier this week, I sat down to read it all over again in his memory. It stands the test of time and remains a wonderful books for young readers to enjoy.
Ainsley Grace Mowat
This book, along with The Dog Who Wouldn't Be, was a legacy that I passed on to my daughter. I first read them to her at age 5/6. Now 13, she still picks them up and laughs aloud when she reads them. As a distant relative of Mr. Mowat myself, I can vouch for the authenticity of the content. My grandmother knew Farley and all his crazy pets. It's a slice of our family's history that still tickles the funny bone. Highly recommended for anyone who believes in sending the kids outside to play!
Meaghan Steeves
While I found the book endearing and enjoyed the fact that it was a true story and possessed good humor, I was not so much a fan of this book as I thought I would be. That being said, as a previously Mowat-virgin I do love his writing, and would be interested to read more of it. I just feel sad that his passing is what prompted me to first read him.
Deborah
Farley Mowat (author of Never Cry Wolf and other environmental books) writes a memoir of his childhood living on the prairie, caring for two owls. This short read is a collection of vignettes about the owls. Not sure how much of this is true since it cataloged fiction at the library and through book vendors, but it a fun read for kids who like unusual pets.
Aaron Lozano
This was an instant Lozano classic! Brought to Lucy by her secret pal, we could not get enough of this book! Wol and Weeps are some of the most fun animal characters in any book we have read. Brought down to a 4 by Zoey's inexplicable rating of 3 (my belief is she liked it more than anyone, but she is something of a nonconformist) this is a must read for family fun time! (Note: we modernized some of the language).
Heather
Read this book at bedtime to my boys. It's a fun read, one that made me wish there were more open spaces for adventurous play around where I live (the backyard will have to suffice :)). And it made me want a pet owl (my family and I joke how owls are my "spirit animal"). That said, my boys weren't nuts about it. They liked it okay, but they weren't as engaged with it as with some of our other bedtime novels. I think I found some of the stories more amusing than they did and I definitely apprecia ...more
Jessica
It's a shame that Farley Mowat has passed away. After reading this, I wanted him to adopt me so I could share in some of these experiences. Delightful story about the 2 owls he rescued and kept as pets when he was a boy. I laughed and smiled through every page. Great read for animal lovers (especially owl lovers like me) of all ages.
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What's The Name o...: boy finds two owls, he found one in oil drum [s] 4 18 Oct 22, 2014 11:40AM  
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Farley McGill Mowat was a conservationist and one of Canada's most widely-read authors.
Many of his most popular works have been memoirs of his childhood, his war service, and his work as a naturalist. His works have been translated into 52 languages and he has sold more than 14 million books.
Mowat studied biology at the University of Toronto. During a field trip to the Arctic, Mowat became outrag
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More about Farley Mowat...
Never Cry Wolf Woman in the Mists: The Story of Dian Fossey and the Mountain Gorillas of Africa The Dog Who Wouldn't Be The Boat Who Wouldn't Float Lost in the Barrens

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