Owl Babies

Martin Waddell, Patrick Benson (illus.)

Owl Babies
Board book
Walker Books Ltd
United Kingdom
1 August 2017

Owl Babies

Martin Waddell, Patrick Benson (illus.)

A special 25th anniversary board book edition of a bestselling modern classic, Owl Babies is a comforting read for any toddler who has ever worried about mum leaving them alone, or any child starting pre-school for the very first time.

Sarah, Percy and Bill the baby owls wake one night to find their mother gone. And as the darkness gathers and they perch patiently on their branch waiting for her return, oh how they worry!

Never has the plight of young ones who miss their mum been so sensitively told or so beautifully rendered as in this tale from picture book masters, Patrick Benson and Martin Waddell and, with a foreword and gorgeous golden foil on the cover and spine, this edition is one to share and treasure.    


The familiarity of a repetitive refrain is very comforting to children, and Owl Babies does this so very, very well. Sarah, Percy and Bill are owl babies, huddling close together on the branch of their tree while they wait for their owl mother to come home. The two older siblings give deep thought as to why their owl mother might be missing (because as we know from this beautiful book, ‘all owls think a lot’), but while Bill wants to believe them, he can’t help expressing his deepest fear: ‘I want my mummy’.

Martin Waddell’s deeply empathetic text confronts the anxiety that all children feel if they realise their parents (especially their mum) is out of sight and might never come back. Patrick Benson’s illustrations are magnificent, conveying both the smallness of three baby birds left alone in the forest, but at the same time depicting the group of three safely huddled together on the tree. This book was published 30 years ago and hasn’t been out of print since. It’s a keepsake that will remain in families for generations, parents reading to children, then grandchildren, everyone huddled together safely. For ages 18-months+.

Gabrielle Williams was the much-loved Readings Prize manager and Readings Foundation grants officer.

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