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The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark Hardcover – August 1, 2001

8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Howard's glorious nocturnal illustrations give new life to the late British author's 1968 tale of an owlet frightened of the night. "The dark is scary," Plop tells Mommy Barn Owl, who wisely instructs him to learn a bit more about it before passing judgment. Soon, Plop is off seeking new acquaintances, both human and animal, who tell him their favorite things about the evening, from fireworks and campfire singalongs to viewing the constellations ("The dark is wondrous. Look through the telescope," says one gentleman he meets). Tomlinson's reassuring tale is aimed squarely at preschoolers, who will thrill to a familiar scenario played out in an unusual setting. Howard's expertly shaded pastels evoke the owls' feather-softness against full-bleed illustrations in glowing, naturalistic colors, which he augments with smaller sepia vignettes. One particularly memorable scene features a close-up of Plop flanked by his parents, the three of them staring out at readers with the sparkle of a fireworks display reflected in their large eyes. As for the round, plump and utterly fetching Plop himself, he's an irresistible ball of fluff who may well convert a host of readers to nighttime's appeal. Ages 3-up.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

K-Gr 2-Plop the baby barn owl needs to overcome his fear of the night, because that's when he and his parents must go hunting. His understanding mother suggests that he ask various other creatures why they like the dark. A boy calls it exciting because he can see fireworks, an old lady finds it kind as she remembers past pleasures, a Boy Scout says it's fun because friends can sing around the campfire and drink cocoa, a girl maintains that it is necessary so that Santa can come, an astronomer terms it wondrous because he can see the constellations, and a cat simply points out the beauty of the sleeping town. Now convinced that the dark is just right, Plop becomes a night owl. This newly illustrated version of a British classic has winning full-page and page-and-a-half pastel pictures in midnight blues and soft daytime shades that show a sweetly fluffy owlet, his wide-eyed parents, and his new friends.

Patricia Pearl Dole, formerly at First Presbyterian School, Martinsville, VA

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.


Product Details

  • Age Range: 3 - 7 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 2
  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick; Abridged edition (August 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0763615625
  • ISBN-13: 978-0763615628
  • Product Dimensions: 10.2 x 0.4 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.7 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #847,485 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 3, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I was eight years old. I read the paperback edition of this book every night, cover to cover. The story of the effervescent Plop and the conquering of his fear of the dark is as enduring now as it was when it was first published over 30 years ago.
This version is abridged and illustrated from the one that saw me safely to dreamland as a child. No matter. The spirit is preserved and the illustrations are wonderful. Great for any kid with any phobia. A magical book.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on May 14, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Originally published in 1968, "The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark" is considered a classic in England. Now reissued with a whole new illustrator, we members of the United States finally get a chance to read this rather adorable tale. Though not a cutesy story in and of itself, illustrator Paul Howard has drawn a book that has perhaps set the standard for adorable barn owl tales everywhere.

Plop (an unfortuanate name, but whatcha gonna do?) is a small barn owl. Plop is also afraid of the dark. Though his parents attempt to inform him that there is nothing to be afraid of, he remains unconvinced. Finally, they tell him to ask various people and animals for information about the dark. From a boy the owl learns that the dark is exciting, with fireworks and such. From an astrologer he learns that the dark is wondrous, allowing us to see the many constellations in the sky. And so forth. In the end, Plop is convinced and is able to safely fly in the sky with his mother and father without fear.

If you'd like to read something to your little one that doesn't contain much in the way of tension or drama, this book's your ticket. Though Plop does partake in various escapades, none of these ever become dangerous. I was particularly interested in a section where he asks a black cat about the night. Considering that a cat would undoubtedly view a baby barn owl as a yummy snack, I was a bit amazed that nothing bad happened between the two. Nothing so much as the cat licking his chops or thinking to himself, "Boy could I go for a little fowl right now". Nuthin'. Which is fine. Illustrator Paul Howard has added pictures drawn with pastel pencils.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Helen Cropper on February 2, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I totally loved this book when i was little and still do now (I'm nearly 21!). I've lost the tape so I'm looking to get another one so I can show my boyfriend how good it is too. i would highly recommend that every child should have a copy of this book.
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Format: Hardcover
Fairly lackluster. It may be a good fit for parents trying to help kids who are afraid of the dark, but it's not good for much else. The artwork is trying for that soft pastel look, which is okay for a fair number of the pieces, but the humans are kind Especially with the scouts at the campfire. They're more unnerving than soft.

A young owl goes about asking humans and animals why they like the dark, until he decides he likes it, as well. A simple enough idea, typical of picture books, but this feels a bit text-heavy.

Check this out at your library before making the plunge of a purchase. If it's not at your library, dont even bother. There's plenty out there to try.
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