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Owen (Caldecott Honor Book) Hardcover – September 15, 1993

4.7 out of 5 stars 141 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The clinical name is transitional object, but for young children, a beloved blanket is more like a lifeline. And that's exactly how Owen feels about his baby blanket, fondly named Fuzzy. The Owen-Fuzzy relationship is cruising along smoothly until a nosy neighbor, Mrs. Tweezers, leans over the fence and asks his parents, "Isn't he getting a little old to be carrying that thing around?" With kindergarten just around the corner, Owen's parents wonder if he should in fact relinquish his prized Fuzzy. Kevin Henkes uses his signature mouse characters and jewel-tone watercolors to explore the antics and foils of one mouse-boy, one rag-blanket, and two parents wondering how to help their son kick the habit. This is what Henkes does best--playfully bringing childhood fears and feelings to the surface while portraying real-life parent-child tensions. Mrs. Tweezers, a real sourpuss, is no help at all. She offers terrible over-the-fence advice, such as dipping Fuzzy in vinegar (as if to cure a nail-biting habit) or stealing the blanket in the night.

It is not until the eve of Owen's first day of kindergarten that his mother hatches the perfect solution. Ultimately, she finds a way that Owen can hang on to his first true love while also taking the next step into middle childhood--a solution that suits everyone, including Mrs. Tweezers. Caldecott Honor Book, Horn Book Fanfare Honor List, ALA Notable Book, Boston Globe/Horn Book Honor Book, School Library Journal Best Book of the Year, ALA Booklist Children's Editors' Choice. (Ages 3 and older) --Gail Hudson

From Publishers Weekly

A worthy addition to Henkes's ( Chester's Way ; Julius, the Baby of the World ) impressive, engaging oeuvre, this animated tale takes up the case of a wee mouse's devotion to a no-longer-fuzzy blanket named Fuzzy. Imbued with Henkes's characteristically understated humor, spry text and brightly hued watercolor-and-ink pictures chronicle how Owen's next-door neighbor, Mrs. Tweezers, suggests to Owen's parents a series of ploys to separate their son--who is soon to start school--from Fuzzy. The ingenious mouse foils each attempt, until his resourceful mother stumbles upon "an absolutely wonderful, positively perfect, especially terrific idea." With some snipping and sewing, she transforms the beloved blanket into a batch of very portable handkerchiefs, a stratagem that not only keeps Owen happy but manages to silence the meddling Mrs. Tweezers. Even youngsters unattached to a Fuzzy-like object will feel a kinship with the winningly wily Owen--and parents of the attached may find a useful solution to an age-old dilemma. Ages 3-up.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Lexile Measure: 370L (What's this?)
  • Series: Caldecott Honor Book
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Greenwillow Books; 1st edition (September 15, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0439686180
  • ISBN-13: 978-0688114497
  • ASIN: 0688114490
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.2 x 9.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (141 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,289 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Kevin Henkes is the author and illustrator of close to fifty critically acclaimed and award-winning picture books, beginning readers, and novels. He received the Caldecott Medal for Kitten's First Full Moon in 2005. Kevin Henkes is also the creator of a number of picture books featuring his mouse characters, including the #1 New York Times bestsellers Lilly's Big Day and Wemberly Worried, the Caldecott Honor Book Owen, and the beloved Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse. His most recent mouse character, Penny, was introduced in Penny and Her Song (2012); her story continued in Penny and Her Doll and Penny and Her Marble (a Geisel Honor Book). Bruce Handy, in a New York Times Book Review piece about A Good Day, wrote, "It should be said: Kevin Henkes is a genius." Kevin Henkes received two Newbery Honors for novels--one for his newest novel for young readers, The Year of Billy Miller, and the other for Olive's Ocean. Also among his fiction for older readers are the novels Junonia, Bird Lake Moon, The Birthday Room, and Sun & Spoon. He lives with his family in Madison, Wisconsin. You can visit him online at www.kevinhenkes.com.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Despite being a fan of Kevin Henkes, I could not bring myself to like this book. The idea behind the story- trying to get a young child to part with his/her blanket- is certainly one that might appeal to parents. However, I dislike the fact that the parents start trying to force their son to give up his security object simply because the neighbor who can't mind her own business peer pressures them into thinking they are being bad parents by letting him keep his "baby" object. They also make a fuss over Owen not being able to go to school with a blanket (which strikes me as odd because the preschools where I live don't seem to mind if you child brings a special object as long as they tuck it away in their cubbie). So not only do the parents attempt to force the poor kid to suddenly be okay with getting rid of his blanket, but when they realize it won't work they attempt to compromise by cutting it up into little squares and sending him to school with handkerchief-sized pieces. Suddenly Owen doesn't care that his blanket isn't fuzzy anymore and is in small squares, which I have a hard time believing wouldn't be rather heartbreaking in real life. My own son has a blanket he loves dearly but he is naturally spending less and less time with it on his own as he gets older without me having to give him lectures on how the nosy neighbor thinks he's a baby and hacking it into small pieces. I'm sorry, Kevin Henkes, but this one did not work for me as a parent. I'm not saying there shouldn't be rules about where a security object is or isn't allowed, but I disagree with the message that it's wrong to have one the minute you hit school age.
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Format: Hardcover
This a very sweet book about growing up. In the book, the main character, Owen, is getting ready to go to school for the first time. He is crushed when he learns that he cannot take his beloved blanket to school with him. As the story unfolds, Owen and his parents work to find a solution to his dilema. This book has subtle humor and simple text that is perfect for emergent readers. The story is one that small children can easily relate to and parents will appreciate. The illustrations are consistent with Kevin Henkes' style. They are lovable and full of expression. I rate this book as one of Kevin Henkes' best!
1 Comment 15 of 15 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover
This is a review/evaluation of the book as part of an in depth study on children's picture books. I am a third grade teacher and I use this book in my classroom because no kid is ever too old to read a great story like this. I truly think it is a classic!

Evaluation: In addition to the wonderful illustrations, this Caldecott Honor book is also a heart warming story that is very appropriate for young readers. The illustrations and the story are very appealing to children and allows readers to easily identify with the main character and the situation he is in. The illustrations add to the meaning of the text because they emphasis the personality of the characters. They highlight Owen's playfulness and the love that he has for his blanket. They also add to the worries of the adults in the story because their concern shows in the illustrations. The illustrations also extend the text because they are so clear that a student could understand the story without actually reading the text and rely only on the clues from the illustrations. The background settings are also nicely illustrated and accurately detailed because it is easy to compare and contrast when they are in places in their house that is shared by all of the family members and when they are in Owen's room and his play area in the background. Henkes also adds specific details to the setting that compliment the fact that the main characters are mice. This is reflected in the art work they have in their house and the statues they have outside. The illustrations are done with watercolor paints and black pen for the full-color art. This compliments the mood of the book because the illustrations are very colorful and vibrant.
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Comment 8 of 8 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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By Ginkgo on February 15, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Owen is one of my favorite characters of all times...probably because like Owen, I was very attached to my blanket. How I wish this book had been published when I was a child! As usual, Kevin Henkes' story is charmingly written and illustrated. There is a lot of humor, plenty of which will make parents laugh as hard as(or harder than) their children.
When Owen's busybody neighbor, Mrs. Tweezers, convinces Owen's parents that he's too old to carry around his beloved, yet tattered, blanket, his parents begin a campaign to separate Owen and the blanket. Little do they know the lengths to which Owen will go to protect his blanket. Owen's Mom comes up with a solution that makes everybody happy, even that annoying busybody Mrs. Tweezers! Owen is a spunky, loveable little guy!
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Format: Hardcover
Ever heard of the blanket fairy? Until reading this, I never had.

The mouse family in this book is very cute! I loved the expressions they have. Young Owen is very attached to his blanket. His parents try all sorts of methods to get him to part with it.

Parents can relate to having to separate the baby items (first stuffy, blanket, pacifier, etc) from their child and kids can read this for alternatives and that every kid goes through adjustments in their life.
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