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Owly, Vol. 1: The Way Home & The Bittersweet Summer Paperback – September 30, 2004

4.7 out of 5 stars 68 customer reviews
Book 1 of 6 in the Owly Series

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Paperback, September 30, 2004
$141.58 $8.37

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this charming series by mini-comics specialist Runton, Owly and Wormy carry out their dialogue-less but absorbing activities in classic best-friend fashion. They live together in a friendly forest reminiscent of the ones often found in children's literature, and much in the style of Frog and Toad, or Winnie the Pooh and Piglet, Owly and Wormy's smallest excursions and challenges are the stuff of great mystery and adventure. With nothing but significant looks and great lashings of expressive ink, Runton brings these gentle characters and their concerns vividly to life. In the story "The Way Home," we learn how Wormy, initially terrified of the bird of prey, moves from fear to trust when Owly saves his life and later convinces his skeptical worm parents that Owly is a valuable friend. In "The Bittersweet Summer," the pair befriends some hummingbirds who must leave them behind when it's time to fly south for the winter. In both tales, the plots are simple enough for children to grasp, yet the characterizations will draw in all but the most reluctant adults. Owly is mostly made up of a large, expressive pair of eyes, while Wormy is little more than a squiggle and a smile. They wear sun hats while gardening and scarves during winter. Though it doesn't sound like much, under Runton's pen, the whole is winningly lively.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Gr. 3-5. In this nearly wordless bit of graphic fun, Runton tells two stories about wly the little owl. In "The Way Home," lonely Owly rescues Wormy from a thunderstorm, and, after nursing him back to health, helps him find his way home. "The Bittersweet Summer" tells a slightly more complicated story about friendship, as Owly and Wormy befriend two hummingbirds during the course of the spring and summer, and say goodbye to them when they migrate south for the winter. Owly is a delightfully sweet book. The whimsical black-and-white art is done with great facility for expressing emotion, and Runton's reliance on icons and pictures in lieu of the usual dialogue makes the story perfect for give-and-take between children and their parents; even readers older than the target audience will appreciate the book's simple charm, wisdom, and warmth. Tina Coleman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 5 and up
  • Grade Level: Kindergarten and up
  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Top Shelf Productions; First Printing edition (September 30, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1891830627
  • ISBN-13: 978-1891830624
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 5.4 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #242,723 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Andy is the creator of the breakout all-ages series of graphic novels, Owly, featuring a kind-hearted little owl who's always searching for new friends and adventure. Relying on a mixture of symbols and expressions to tell his silent stories, Andy's work showcases both his gift for characterization and his love of birds, animals, and the outdoors. His animated and heartwarming style has made him a favorite of both fans and critics alike.

The Owly series has earned him multiple awards in the comics and graphic novel community, including the Howard E. Day Memorial Prize, the Harvey Award, two Ignatz Awards, and the 2006 Eisner Award for "Best Publication for a Younger Audience". He lives in the greater Atlanta area, where he works full-time on Owly comics, books, and graphic novels.

Visit him and Owly online at: www.AndyRunton.com

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
It's really hard to review "Owly". The easiest thing to do would be to say "It's awesome. Go read it. If you don't like it, you have no soul." That would be the quick way to discuss this book (and it would be accurate).

But, Andy Runton deserves a little more. Because he's accomplished something to admire: he's created a truly all ages comic book, that is, you can be past the age of 9 and really enjoy it. That's not easy. Quick, when was the last time you saw "good for all ages" on a book (or movie) and not feel your I.Q. drop a few points even before you even read page one(or watched the opening credits)? And then you noticed it dropping as you progressed?

Runton doesn't do that. His "Owly" stories engage you at a basic human level. Owly is an owl, but he's the quintessential gentle soul, the rare altruistic good guy who looks out for the little guy and overcomes any obstacle to win. You root for him because you know if there were more Owly's in the world, it would be a more bearable place to live in.

And the most amazing thing, aside from the wonderful art, is that Runton does this without a single word. Aside from some expressive thought-balloons, Owly and his friends don't say anything. But the drawings communicate a much raw emotion as a dozen well-chosen words could.

Enjoy "Owly" with your kids, by yourself, with friends and family. It's time well spent, and good feelings well shared.
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Format: Paperback
Owly's is a great story, and conveyed in a timeless and ageless way. It would be very easy with this kind of material to be mawkish or contrived, but Andy does a brilliant job conveying his deep respect for nature. Owly is simple and sweet, and hearkens back to the classic storytelling of Winnie-the-Pooh or Curious George.

Especially nice is the clear and intelligent use of animal behavior. For example, what flowers will attract hummingbirds, that small birds would be scared of an owl, etc...

It really is one of the most honest and genuine things I've read in a long time.
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Format: Paperback
Owly is not your typical owl. He's friendly, adorable, and he sometimes hangs out with a worm. The art is well done, clean and cartoony. Not to disregard the fact that Owly is easily one of the cutest owls put on paper.
I was attracted to this book because it mixes great drawings and the paneled story pacing of a comic with a great story that seems almost nostalgic. With representational dialogue (i.e. pictures in word bubbles) instead of words, these two heart-warming tales are easily interpretable for people of all reading levels and languages. Definitely one of those rare books that cross-over from adult-reading to bedtime-story.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Wow. What can I say?

For Christmas, my brother gave me "The 500 Essential Graphic Novels" as a gift. I eagerly browsed through it. As I flipped the pages, I would read about and jot down titles that interested me.

When I was finished, I selected a few to order. "Owly" being among one of the titles. I can honestly say, that I didn't know what to expect when it arrived. But, what I do know, is that when I got to reading it, I was pleasantly surprised. It was everything I could have hoped for and then some!

"Owly" is delightful in it's simplicity. There is no dialogue. In it's place, instead, are symbols and pictures. This does not act as a downside at all. Andy Runton's artwork is so expressive and revealing, that despite there being no words - nothing about the story is lost. The characters are so expressive and animated, that, when they display an emotion - it's as if you can FEEL that emotion.

The tale is beyond heartwarming and simple. Yet, Runton manages to achieve this without it being even the SLIGHTEST bit corny, cheesy or preachy. Instead it comes of as simple, yet touching, heartfelt and genuine. I am a 21 year old male, so, believe me when I tell you that "Owly" is a book that all ages can appreciate.

The artwork, the story, the characters, their expressions - all of it. It's all top notch and will forever, hold a special place in my heart. I can honestly say, that my life is for the better for reading such a wonderful book.

I can only hope that Andy Runton continues the rest of this series on par with the caliber of his first book.

Please, as another reviewer said - and, I second this - if you are on here, reading the reviews, what are you waiting for? Order this book.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Andy Runton has really hit on something here. He's managed to allow readers to remember what it was like to be a kid - the hurt, the hope, and the perseverance that comes from not having a clue as to what can't be done. That's something that both Adults and Kids should be exposed to liberal doses of.
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Format: Paperback
Top Shelf is one of the more unique comic publishers out there today. Rather than trying to compete with the more mainstream publishers, Top Shelf puts out the kind of material you don't see from anyone else. Back in the late 1980's I published a fanzine covering small press comics. And when I say small press, I'm referring mostly to self-published comics that could be anything from eight page mini-comics done on a copy machine, to digest or even full-sized comics, 96 pages or more. The people who put out these comics rarely made any money as they basically sold amongst themselves in a very tight-knit small press community. No, they really did it out of love for what they were doing. They were some tremendously talented artists and writers!

Which brings me back to Top Shelf. Top Shelf reminds me of that era of small press comics, and Owly is a great example. Owly is a true triumph of the comic-strip medium. It's a 160 page, black & white, digest-sized graphic novel that tells the story without the benefit...or need...of dialog. The only text you see is used to convey sound effects. It takes a talented cartoonist to pull it off and Andy Runton does, and does so masterfully. Owly contains two stories, "The Way Home" and "The Bittersweet Summer."

In "The Way Home" we see a sensitive, lonely little owl, who is just looking for some companionship. He frees a couple of fireflies from a jar they are trapped in and then finds a poor little worm, sleeping on a leaf and shivering in the cold. Owly takes him home, and makes a nice little bed for him. The Worm is at first terrified by what should be an enemy but soon learns that Owly just wants to help.
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