Jonathan Allen has created many wonderful picture books for children. His international success is based on his observant wit, appealing art and his child-like sense of fun. Jonathan lives happily in a quiet village in South Cambridgeshire with his partner, his two children, a dog, a cat, two guinea pigs, several guitars and three computers.
PreS-K-When Rabbit, Fox, and Squirrel take turns hugging Baby Owl, gushing about his adorable features ad nauseum, the youngster grimaces and grumbles, insisting that he's a "huge, sleek hunting machine with great big see-in-the-dark eyes." Mama Owl resolves the problem at bedtime when she pairs both compliments in an acceptable fashion. Similar in style to Sandra Boynton's work, Allen's minimalist, black-outlined watercolors capture plenty of facial expressions. A fresh story line and (sorry, Baby Owl) cute cartoons make this a crowd-pleaser.-Gay Lynn Van Vleck, Henrico County Library, Glen Allen, VA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Any child who hates to be cuddled and cooed over by grown-ups will likely identify with cuter-than-cute Baby Owl. "I'm not cute!" the winged hero proclaims to everyone who tells him he's adorable or small. "I am a huge and scary hunting machine with great big soft and silent wings." Allen's deft use of black line and woodsy palette features a toddler who has put up with more than enough pinched cheeks and unwanted hugs. He cringes when Fox pats his head and squirms when Squirrel admires his expressive "big baby eyes." It's not until Mama agrees with him that he's not cute at all, that Baby Owl wonders if his declaration isn't exactly in his best interest. Allen's depiction of Baby Owl's realization that he's backed himself into a corner and the image of his complete toddler meltdown are priceless. As Baby Owl shouts, "But I am cute!... I am! I am!" his mother knows bedtime when she sees it. After reading Baby Owl a story and tucking him in, she whispers, "You're so cute, Baby Owl.... For a huge, scary, sleek, sharp-eyed hunting machine, that is." With its satisfying "good night" ending, and its reassuring glimpse of an adult who remembers what it feels like to be small, this winning book will resonate with children and grown-ups alike. Ages 2-5. (Apr.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.