Monday 14 March 2022

The Owl Who Got Left Behind

The Owl Who Got Left Behind by Martine Murray & Anna Read (Parachute Press) PB HB RRP $29.99 ISBN 9 780645 039511

Reviewed by Karen Hendriks

There is an owl who was left behind when the owl and the pussycat went to sea in a pea green boat. This sad and lonely owl waits and hopes for their return. Rhino appears and persists on waiting with Owl. Rhino offers friendship which Owl rejects. Finally, Owl learns the value of a true friend.

Martine Murray has written a story that provokes much thought with strong characters beside the sea. Owl believes that the other Owl and the Pussycat will return. The words are heartfelt and draw the reader into the world of the lonely Owl. I particularly love this sentence. What no one knows is the terrible, sad tale of the owl who got left behind. Nobody likes to be left behind and I wonder why owl was left behind. Murray alludes to the fact that this owl is not spoken about or known. This draws on the reader’s heartstrings by delving into feelings. What might owl be thinking? If only Rhino would go away and leave him to be sad by himself. But Rhino didn’t go away. Murray’s words show that sometimes it takes someone else to see you are not okay. ‘But can’t you see that I’m very, very upset?’ spluttered Owl. ‘That’s why I’m keeping you company,’ said Rhino. As Owl goes about being sad, the themes of friendship and loneliness are explored very well in this book.

Anna Read’s dark toned illustration palette is moody, thought provoking, and powerful. The cover of this book immediately captures attention. A near black cover, red spine, a white rhino, grey owl, and red flag is very striking. The title in a gold font has the feel of a sad tale inside. The endpapers feature egg blue with sailing boats along the bottom of pea green, white, and red, and white with the owl on each one. They lead the eye to the page turn. The illustrations have been created simplistically and powerfully to create a visually beautiful book. The moody darker colour palette gives the reader much to explore on each page. The illustrations compliment the text beautifully.

The Owl Who Got Left Behind is a picture book that covers the themes of friendship and loneliness. This book is an interesting read for children 3-8 years and beyond. The larger word count means children who read junior fiction may well like this book too. There is much to like about this book as it combines image and text perfectly

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