Module 2: Owl Moon

owl moon

Book Summary: This is the story of a child (it does not say it is a girl, but in the illustrations it appears to be so) who goes out owling with her father for the first time. By the light of a bright moon they head into the forest. Jane Yolen uses beautiful figurative and sensory language throughout. For example, they hear the howling of dogs in the distance and the sounds of the trains, the girl feels the ice cold temperature on her back, and she can feel and taste her breath on her scarf. Without talking, they make their way into the woods and after much patience they hear the hooting and see a great horned owl fly from one branch to another in an impressive swoop.

APA Reference of Book: Yolen, J. (1987). Owl moon. New York: Philomel Books.

Impressions: This is a gentle and enjoyable book telling the touching story of a child bonding with her father. Told from the child’s point of view, it tells the story of a night that was obviously important to her. Though the significance of the experience is not explicitly stated, we can infer this was an important moment in her relationship with her father. The illustrations go hand-in-hand with the text to enhance the story effectively. It’s an easy read with a little suspense and a happy pay-off when they find the owl. It’s a book I come back to year after year in the classroom because there’s so much that can be found in its simple narrative and illustrations.

Professional Review: Top 100 Picture Books #30: Owl Moon by Jane Yolen. Retrieved from

This wintery tale marks the appearance of yet another Caldecott Award winner on the list and there’s nothing better for evoking the chills brought on both by nocturnal cold, and the awe inspiring appearance of meticulously rendered wildlife. — Bird. E. (2012, June 5).

Children’s Books. Retrieved from

Jane Yolen and John Schoenherr, who are both prolific, have done excellent work in the past, but this book has a magic that is extremely rare in books for any age. The illustrations make you shiver from the cold and want to pull your scarf up over your mouth. — Johnson, P. (1988, January 3).

Library Uses: This can be used in a library lesson to reinforce learning of sensory language for reading and writing lessons. Students can make a table on poster paper of the five senses and list all the sensory language found in the book in the appropriate column of the table.