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Thursday, February 1, 2018

White Owl, Barn Owl

I recently read Nicola Davies' White Owl, Barn Owl (illustrated by Michael Foreman) as part of a teacher professional development on science learning, and I fell madly in love with it. If you haven't picked it up, it's well worth your time.  

A boy is helping his grandfather, and today they are going to build a box for the owls in their fields. The boy has so many questions -- what is the box for? How will they use it? The pair builds the box, and in time they find that a barn owl has stayed there. The boy explores information about owls with his guide, such as how owls hunt and eat and what they leave behind, and they learn more together than they could have expected. 

I was really enamored with this book for one very specific reason. It warmed my educator heart to see that this book told two stories. The first story was the narrative, the story of the grandfather and the grandson (at least, we think it's a grandson because the gender is never specified) and their building of an owl house in order to take care of the bird on their property. The parallel story is expository, giving the reader factual, scientific information on the barn owl. Not only is the story compelling and sweet, but it also contains clear, factual information that I learned so much from. For example, I never knew that the heart-shaped ruff around their eyes was designed to move sound toward owls' ears, which have incredible hearing so that they can hunt prey. I also never knew what owl pellets were; I thought they were poop, but they are not. You will have to get the book to find that out yourself. 

I am so in love with this book that I will have to buy it for my son. I love books that are informative while still being good reads. 

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