A graceful bedtime story celebrates the beauty found in night.
Little Owl loves the night forest. He can't imagine a better place. He glides from friend to friend, watching and listening. Hedgehog snuffles for mushrooms. Turtle hides in her shell as fireflies dot the sky. But try as he might, Little Owl cannot wake Bear inside the Grumbly Cave. He snores soundly. But what if the bear has never seen stars? As morning draws near, Little Owl settles in on his branch and whispers softly to his mother, "[T]ell me again how night ends." "Spiderwebs turn to silver threads," she begins. "The sky brightens from black to blue, blue to red, red to gold." But Little Owl does not hear. His wide, innocent green eyes have already shut tight. Srinivasan's picture-book debut beckons readers to follow this curiously adorable creature through the sky. The moon and stars illuminate the dark background, and a flat palette of black, greens and browns blankets the forest in quiet stillness. More lyrical than linear, the story flits from one animal to the next. But readers won't mind.Hold on to Little Owl's tail feathers and soar. (Picture book. 2-6) Copyright Kirkus 2011 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.
There's a surfeit of books about going to bed, but fewer about the beauty of night after all the humans have gone to sleep. In her debut, Srinivasan explores this world through the character of Little Owl, a mite of a bird with enormous green eyes. "Little Owl visited his friend the raccoon. As they sat in the clover, fog rolled in and hovered just overhead." There's no thread joining the events of Little Owl's pleasant evening; he thinks about showing his friend Bear the moon, but Bear doesn't wake up. Fox says hello, but doesn't stay. "Tell me again how night ends," Little Owl asks his mother. "The moon and stars fade to ghosts," she tells him. "Spiderwebs turn to silver threads." The story's chief virtue is its graceful, balletic prose; the artwork's crisp edges and cold greens and blacks, by contrast, have a polished, commercial feel--a Mary Blair vibe in a Photoshop era. It's a provocative inversion of the classic bedtime story, and a solid first outing. Srinavasan's message is that night is a delightful place, and that's useful knowledge for small children. Ages 3-5. (Sept.)[Page ]. Copyright 2010 PWxyz LLC
PreS-K--Little Owl-almost overly cute, with huge green eyes-loves the night forest. He flutters around and observes the activities of his nocturnal neighbors. White-faced possums waddle by, bright-eyed beavers chomp on trees against the backdrop of the round moon, crickets chirp, frogs croak, and Little Owl takes it all in. Eventually he returns home, where Mama tells him his favorite story: how night becomes day. "The moon and stars fade to ghosts…the sky brightens from black to blue, blue to red, red to gold…." However, Little Owl does not hear or see it; he is fast asleep. Many young listeners will meet the same pleasant fate by way of this eye-catching, lilting, and reassuring book.--Susan Weitz, formerly at Spencer-Van Etten School District, Spencer, NY[Page 96]. (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.