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Owen (Caldecott Honor Book) Hardcover – September 15, 1993
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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.
Top customer reviews
In this cute story, Owen the mouse - since infancy - has had a fuzzy yellow blanket as his constant companion... perhaps not AS fuzzy as it once was, considering it's gone through the rigours of typical childhood play - both indoors and outdoors - along with being a mealtime companion. Despite being stained, torn and ratty, Owen believes "Fuzzy is perfect." However, nosy neighbor mouse Mrs. Tweezers decides Owen - who'll be starting school soon - is too old to be carrying it around, and suggests a few "remedies" to his parents (the Blanket Fairy, who operates in much the same way as the Tooth Fairy, and the "vinegar trick" - which is exactly what you'd imagine it to be! - but little Owen has his own remedies for those tactics. When Mrs. Tweezers finally suggests to his parents that they simply say "no" to its continuing place in Owen's life, he's inconsolable. Oh, go blow your nose, Mrs.Tweezers! Owen's mother - as loving and sympathetic mothers will do - comes up with an ingenious way to compromise, snipping and sewing that treasured big piece of cloth into a much smaller handkerchief-sized piece, which Owen can continue to carry around and use in multi-purpose ways as always, until he naturally outgrows it - a compromise which even hushes up nosy Mrs. Tweezers!
Upon reading it, a couple of things hit me - first, it would've been a more obvious fit for our oldest grandson (who DID have a "blankie" that was hard to phase out), while our middle grandson has never had a typical "lovie" he's clung to, but also WHOOSH - did it bring back memories for me of an absolutely beloved doll from my childhood, which I found one day (while roller skating in our garage) in a trash can! My dear mother recalls to this day how horrified I was, and no manner of cajoling ("We'll get you a new doll!") or explanation ("She's falling apart... one of her eyes doesn't close any longer, all of her eyelashes have been plucked out, half of her hair is gone!") would console me. And while sometimes it IS best to just "rip off the band-aid", my wise mother decided that - for whatever reasons - I was just not yet ready to lose that piece of my childhood. (And guess what... the arrival of new presents under the tree and my expanding interests allowed for an eventual, much more natural and peaceful parting of the ways!)
Here's what I know for sure - from being a youngster once myself, through raising two sons, and now being blessed with four grandchildren - peer pressure to conform is there not only for kids, but for parents as well, and there will always be "Mrs. Tweezers"-types around, dispensing advice (no matter how well-intentioned) as to what "should" or "should not" be happening when it comes to your youngsters. Ignore them - it's not ALWAYS the best strategy to rip the band-aid off... and there are less stressful compromises in so many instances that ingenious parents - like you! - can come up with while accompanying your child on the journey from childhood to adolescence. I really enjoyed this book - and I know our grandson will be thrilled to see his name in print! (Imprinted price on the back of the book is $17.99 US... think it's a bit stiff, but found a much better price on Amazon.)
If you are not familiar with Owen, he's a little tyke who's growing up yet he does not want to let go of his security blanket. Everyone tries to help him leave it behind and grow up...what happens? You'll have to read it for yourself to find out.
An adorable story and illustrations by Kevin Henkes.
If you like Owen you will also like other stories written and illustrated by this author.
Mrs. tweezers the most neighbor mentioned that she thought Owen was too old to keep dragging a blanket around. Fuzzy was Owen's security,and he lived Fuzzy. Owen's parents thought Mrs Tweezers had a point, but they needed to find the right answer for their family. Owen was going to school, and could not bring the blanket, Fuzzy, with him. Ultimately, the parents and Owen made their own decisions, and it as right for them.
The writing is superb,and for any child and their parents, many parts of this story will ring true. The illustrations are bright and vivid and tell the story of Owen and his dilemma. I led the lessons learned. And the concept of the issue may help other parents.
Recommended. prisrob 07-11-15
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.
Owen has a blanket named Fuzzy, which he's obsessed with. He carries it around everywhere. He hugs it, he sucks it, he twists it, he drags it. When Owen's parents realize that school is coming, their neighbor, Mrs. Tweezers, gives them some advice. Owen's parents use her advice, but it makes things worse. How will his parents solve this problem, and what will happen to Fuzzy?
We really liked this book. We liked it because Owen and Fuzzy have a really nice relationship and a strong connection. It's also a funny story, when it shows Owen playing "Captain Plunger" with Fuzzy as his cape, or when he stuffs Fuzzy in his pajama bottoms to keep him safe from the terrors of the "Blanket Fairy." Some of us had blankets that we carried around with us, too, and we can relate to Owen.
We would recommend this book for people who like Linus, from the comic strip Peanuts, because Owen and Linus both carry around beloved blankets. Linus also has to deal with his own "Mrs. Tweezers," in the form of his bossy older sister, Lucy. We'd also recommend it to anyone who likes funny or happy ending books. Kids who are about to start kindergarten who have something they have to have with them all the time would probably like it, too. However, it would be a great read aloud for any family with young children. Enjoy the book!
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