Night Owl Night
Susan Edwards Richmond, author
Susan Edwards Richmond is the author of a Parents' Choice Silver Award-winning and ALA Notable Book-nominated children’s picture book Bird Count. A passionate birder and naturalist, Susan teaches preschool on a farm and wildlife sanctuary in eastern Massachusetts. She earned her MA in Creative Writing from the University of California, Davis, and is an award-winning poet with five collections of nature-based poetry for adults. Night Owl Night is her second picture book.
Read more about Susan.
Maribel Lechuga, illustrator
As a child, Maribel Lechuga spent every quiet hour of the day drawing. She studied illustration in art school in Madrid and is now the illustrator of many children's books, including Ten Beautiful Things and Seaside Stroll. Maribel loves the environment and animals and recharges her batteries by hiking through the Spanish hills.
Read more about Maribel.
- A Bookstagang Best Illustration of 2023 book!
Kirkus Reviews, starred review
Come along on this 21st-century version of Jane Yolen and John Schoenherr’s Owl Moon (1987).
Every October, Mama, an ornithologist, ventures out at night to band migrating saw-whet owls captured in mist nets. Each October, young Sova asks to accompany Mama, wailing, pleading, and hooting like an owl. Every time, Mama uses the name of an owl species as an endearment: “Not yet, Sova, my little screech owl.” Mama is consistently patient, reminding her, and readers, “Sometimes a scientist must wait.” Finally, Mama allows Sova to come along. This charming introduction to a scientist’s work is child-centered, focused on Sova’s eager anticipation, difficulty staying awake on the long-awaited night, and engagement with the owls’ world. In Lechuga’s textured illustrations, the light from the pairs’ headlamps pops beautifully against the darkness of the night. The youngster’s fascination with owls is demonstrated early through an owl drawing, a stuffed owl toy, and an owl costume. All the tools and equipment used in the capture and banding are shown in the artwork and explained in the text. The final spread, as Sova gradually follows and imagines becoming an owl, is particularly effective. The narrative concludes with short descriptions of the owls mentioned, including QR codes to listen to their calls as well as an author’s note about data collection. Mama and Sova are brown-skinned.
Child-friendly, gently informative, and wonder-full. (further reading, websites)
Sova’s Mama, a bird scientist, studies migrating saw-whet owls, and Sova pleads to accompany her on October nights. “Soon, my great horned owl. Soon,” Mama promises. Digital art by Lechuga makes Sova’s enthusiasm clear; the narrating child is dressed in an owl costume. At last, Mama says yes. Equipped with headlamps, they check a mist net for owls, but see none. “To be a scientist, you must learn to wait,” Mama repeats, setting Sova—and readers—up for a slow reward. The two, both portrayed with brown skin, check again and again, at last spotting an owl, and Edwards Richmond describes them examining the small creature, detailing its height and weight, and establishing its age before they band it and send it on its way. An exciting, documentary-style account that portrays a researcher as both parent and professional, this is a fine experiential telling. Back matter concludes. Ages 4–8.
Page count: 32
11 x 81/2