Owl Moon

{written by Jane Yolen, illustrated by John Schoenherr}

I think it’s well documented in these parts that rowdy read alouds steal my heart the most when it comes to picture books, but this one… Jane Yolen has rare rivals when it comes to a mastery of language and creating rich imagery with words.

It was late one winter night, long past my bedtime,

when Pa and I went owling.

There was no wind.

The trees stood still as giant statues.

I remember this book from the Ridge Elementary School library. It was wrapped in ripped Mylar and had smudged pages, and I can imagine it accompanied many bedtime rituals around the neighborhood. While I so vividly remember the cover, the Caldecott Medal, and that ripped Mylar, the story was entirely unfamiliar to me when I read it again recently.

How fun to revisit childhood moments with some grown-up eyes. (Grown-up eyes that are wrinkly and saggy, but whatever.)

I love color in this book because it is simultaneously lush and stark. It’s late, late at night, and the colors are made up of shadowy tones.

John Schoenherr represents Jane Yolen’s words exceptionally well in the white sky and white snow. The colors are in the duo, the shadows, and the landscape, and the regal owl, and bright white leaves room for the text.

This book is a beautiful combination of words and pictures, and certainly worth revisiting. I’m very thankful for my brand-spanking-new-no-ripping-Mylar copy, and very thankful for that one a long time ago. It was just one of many that made me enjoy the glory of a picture book.


  • Posted March 20, 2012 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    I also love this book! It is a beautiful blend of gorgeous illustrations as well as rich language. I also love the patience this journey requires. Most things are so immediate these days. I have the privilege of getting to adapt this lovely story for the stage. Stages Theatre Company in Hopkins, MN will be performing it in May of 2013. It will be a ballet-inspired musical. Thanks for the post!

  • Posted March 20, 2012 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    Oh, how fun! I just bought a pair of ballet shoes for my grown up self! I’m sure your show will be lovely! Sounds fantastic…such a pretty concept.