Hoot Owl, Master of Disguise by Sean TaylorThere is so much that I adore about this little picturebook. I like the compact, almost square size which is a little unusual in picturebooks as well as the little owl himself whos like a little painted egg with overly large eggs and a tiny, rather insignificant-looking beak. The book as a whole is near-perfect in terms of picturebook format with a mutual (and I would say respectful) balance between words and pictures. Sean Taylor is an accomplished writer and illustrates himself but I am overjoyed that it was Jean Julliens who illustrated this book (please visit his instagram site). Neither artist or illustrator steal the limelight. Instead, there is a respected partnership.
The first page introducing Hoot Owl, as he peeks from the bottom right corner of the page to warn the reader of an impending attack is humorous in itself and is an insight, perhaps, into the almost Milne-esque approach to this character. Here we have, as Hoot tells us, an owl who is known to be wise yet throughout the book, he over-complicates his methods for hunting his foes, taking an almost Looney Tunes approach to ensnaring, and failing, in the capture of his meals through various over-the-top disguises (much to the amusement of his prey).
The book is a series of lovely, dark double-page spreads with Hoot Owl swooping through the night (as black as burnt toast) as quick as a shooting star and like a wolf in the air. As the story progresses, his disguises and methods of trying to catch the various animals as well as the language used to describe his movement from page to page become more absurd and nonsensical yet remain within an effortlessly poetic repeating rhythm with Hoot Owl constantly swooping to the right inviting us to turn the page just as the text does: Text and image working together in harmony :)
The fact that the only prey he manages to capture using his various disguises happens to be an italian-sausage-flavoured pizza only adds to the humour and joy of the story. (It seems that no animals, not even Hoot Owls self-esteem) were harmed during the making of this book.
Hoot Owl is wholly endearing in his language and appearance: how anyone could not find his ornamental birdbath disguise hilarious would be beyond me. More Hoot Owl adventures please!
Hoot Owl, Master of Disguise Book Trailer
Hoot Owl: master of disguise
Thank you! But as well as being wise, I am a master of disguise. Undeterred, Hoot Owl restarts the pattern, targeting a bespectacled lamb and a pigeon, to no avail. He merely camouflages himself—but not really—and waits. Rich, matte colors and a flattish, zoomed-in perspective of the nighttime scenes keep the vibe immediate and nonthreatening. There was a problem adding your email address. Please try again.
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