I should confess before I start to get into this article that I have a plush Owly toy at home. Actually I have two. But seriously, they were bought for my kids…they have just somehow both ended up in my room…
Ok, Ok. I love Owly.
How about I go and get him…Ahh. I feel better now.
Where were we?
Owly is a kind, sensitive little owl who has all the emotions and sympathies of humanity.
He and his friend Wormy have adventures in the forest that revolve around the most simple yet essential things in life; friendship, food and fun.
The forest is populated with all manner of cute creatures, birds, squirrels, butterflies, raccoons and bunnies and although the lessons of life can be tough this is not Watership Down here. There is much laughter in the book and the friends have an awful lot of fun together going about the business of their lives. They share a sense of wonder at the interplay of life and it’s hard no to be infected by it.
The striking thing about the owly books is that they have no words but rely on a mixture of symbols, icons ( Think ! )and expressions to tell their surprisingly moving stories. For young pre-readers, older emerging readers and kids of all ages (think ages 4-99) these animated and heartwarming tales are a perfect journey into innocence and the appreciation of simple pleasures.
The level of emotion and pathos the writer and artist, Andy Runton, can convey without words is beautiful to behold. His pacing is graceful and unhurried but at the same time is engaging and never belaboured. Ultimately kids will admire Owly’s tenacity, kindness and commitment to friends. There is much to find here if you spend time to really appreciate all the gifts that Owly has to offer.
Lesson Plans and Resources
*A wonderful way to integrate Owly into a class is to allow students to create their own comics once you have read through the book with them. Using Owly as a basis for story creation will encourage those who are not confident with their writing to demonstrate their own sense of story-telling without fear of writing “Incorrectly”.
*See my previous post for more resources on How to use comics to help reluctant writers.
*Andy has some wonderful lesson plans on the teaching page of his site: Teaching With Owly
*If you want an extra dose of cuteness check out Owly Animated
Vol 1 The Way Home & The Bittersweet Summer
ISBN:1891830627 Softcover 160 pages B&W $10
Owly discovers the meaning of friendship, and that saying goodbye doesn’t always mean forever.
Vol 2 Just A Little Blue
ISBN:1891830643 Softcover 120 pages B&W $10
Owly learns that sometimes you have to make sacrifices & work at things that are important, like friendship.
Vol 3 Flying Lessons
ISBN:1891830767 Softcover 128 pages B&W $10
Owly and Wormy learn that everyone has their own special strengths and it’s okay to be different.
Vol 4 A Time To Be Brave
ISBN:1891830899 Softcover 128 pages B&W $10
A new visitor may be misunderstood but things aren’t always what they seem, and everyone soon finds out that the power of friendship can fix just about anything.
Vol 5 Tiny Tales
ISBN:1603090193 Softcover 144 pages B&W$10
Short Owly stories, a sketchbook and How To Draw Owly section.
Owly is a great comic for all ages and particularly for those new to reading.
Purchase Owly at comics stores or certain bookstores.
We use and recommend Things From Another World or Amazon for fast and reliable service.