Godwin, Laura. Owl Sees Owl. Rob Dunlavey, Illus. Picture Book. Schwartz & Wade, 09/2016. pp. $17.99. 978-0-553- 49782-3. OUTSTANDING. GRADES Toddler-2.
A young owl sets out from the family nest on a moonlit journey. The bold, little protagonist of this reverso poem in picture book form is right up to the edge of “too cute” without crossing over. Watercolors in shadowy blues and blacks build tranquil, night landscapes. The artist captures light and draws our eyes to small movements or bursts of color until the magical moment where the young readers’ owl avatar gazes at its glowing reflection in a woodland pool. Here the text and the owl’s journey flip into reverse. Subtle changes in meaning ensue, “fall leaves red yellow” becomes “yellow red leaves fall” and “moon beam” and “eyes gleam” turn around into directives. The calming rhythms of the spare language, no more than four concrete words per spread, will reach the youngest audiences. Additionally, this superbly executed reverso poem is rich enough to interest and inspire children up to second grade.
Emma Coleman, Berkeley Public Library