Amy's Reviews > Owl Moon

Owl Moon by Jane Yolen
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's review
Oct 16, 11

really liked it
Read in October, 2011

1) Genre: Contemporary Picture Book

2) Late on a winter night, a young girl and her father go owling. Their experience is simply not limited to just spotting an owl, but a creation of an undeniable bond between father and daughter.

3) Critique:

a) The major strength of this book is the usage of similes that add to the imagery of the content and pictures.

b) If used correctly, similes definitely add to the story because the comparison is often made more realistic to the story. For example, in the opening page, the daughter says, “Somewhere behind us a train whistle blew, long and low, like a sad, sad song.” (pg. 5) This clearly set up the tone of the rest of the book because I could envision it being a cold winter day in an open area where any sounds seem muffled and drown out. This is a Caldecott winner; however, I wasn’t too impressed by the pictures. I think the imagery created by the words and similes were more effective, but the picture did enhance the overall meaning of the story.

c) Other examples of similes include:

“They sang out, trains and dogs, for a real long time. And when their voices faded away it was as quiet as a dream.” (pg. 6)

“He looked up, as if searching the stars, as if reading a map up there.” (pg. 10)

“I could feel the cold, as if someone’s icy hand was palm-down on my back.” (pg. 14).

4) Curriculum Connection: This would be a great introduction to a lesson about similes and even metaphors. The students could see how similes enhance the descriptions and possibly even analyze each simile to understand the relationship of what it is being compared to. I mentioned metaphors as well because there is one metaphor in the book, “The moon made his face into a silver mask.” (pg. 10). Also, teachers could use this to introduce poetry to their students, specifically regarding free verse poetry because not many of the lines in Owl Moon actually rhyme. Students typically associate poetry with rhymes, so this would be an alternative to their misconception.

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Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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message 1: by Sue (new)

Sue Beautiful language.

Melissa I thought about including this story in the "picture book" section; however, the poem contained words that were above the "picture book" age group. I thought the illustrations were the area for critique as they were absolutely amazing. I also classified the book solely in the Junior category: Poetry. I like the examples that you provided. However, when I think of cold winter's nights, I think of crisp air where sounds travel clear and far. Overall, good critique, but it's interesting to see where our different opinions lie.

message 3: by Jeannie (new) - added it

Jeannie Wow Amy!

The similies you chose really got my attention. I hope my library has this book, you make it sound like a must read.


message 4: by Sara (new)

Sara Lynn Amy, I was just discussing ways to teach similes with a friend who is a second grade teacher. Thanks to your review, I can now recommend this book to her! I really enjoyed reading your critique. Your example from page 5 that describes a train whistle really caught my attention. Although I have never read this book, I really look forward to doing so in the near future. With the given snow that we Northern Virginians just experienced this weekend (so strange for October), I am certainly in the mood for winter-time books. I also appreciate your honesty in that you were not exactly impressed by the illustrations in this story. I too am often more intrigued by the words of a story, rather than the images. However, I will say that the cover illustration has now caught my eye. Thank you for such a thoughtful and honest review.

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