Who doesn’t love the bug-eyed, stealthy swoop and quiet wisdom of the majestic owl? Nobody, that’s who. Today’s book, as you may have guessed, is devoted to these mystical, mysterious, mouse-eating birds and as it is a factual tome, I am submitting it for the Nonfiction Reading Challenge hosted by The Introverted Reader. Keen-eyed readers will know that I’ve already technically completed this challenge, but I’m going to see how many nonfiction books I can knock over in the remaining months of the year anyway.
But we were discussing owls, weren’t we? We received the delightful little illustrated tome, Owls: Our Most Charming Bird, by Matt Sewell, from the publisher via Netgalley. Here’s the blurb from Goodreads:
In this beautiful follow-up to Our Garden Birds, Our Songbirds and Our Woodland Birds, street artist Matt Sewell captures the world’s most evocative bird: the owl. In his much-loved pop-art watercolours and accompanied with his whimsical descriptions, Matt Sewell expresses the individual characters of owls as never before.
From tiny Elf Owls to huge Eagle Owls, from the mysterious creatures of the night to an impossibly fluffy baby owl, they are undoubtedly one of the world’s most intriguing feathered friends. These wise, magical birds are otherworldly in their striking colours and stature, and it’s not just birdwatchers who are obsessed. With 50 hand-selected, hand-painted owls, this is a delightful gift which appeals to owl lovers, bird-watching enthusiasts, children, adults and art and design fans alike.
So here are five things I’ve learned from
Owls: Our Most Enchanting Bird
- Owl facial expressions can be unintentionally hilarious.
- “Flammulated” is an evocative and exciting word which should be used far more often.
- “Flammulated” means red-hued.
- The Flammulated Owl is reddish.
- Owls tend to creep people out and as a result, have become the basis of many myths and legends.
This is a fetching and enchanting little book featuring short, witty descriptions and gorgeous illustrations of some fifty types of owl. Not being possessed of a great expanse of knowledge about owls, this was the perfect, whimsical introduction to these masters of nocturnal stealth. The descriptions of each owl are only one to two paragraphs in length and so the book is perfect for dipping into as the fancy takes you, but is equally suited to a cover-to-cover type of attack.
My favourite, in case you hadn’t guessed, was the Flammulated Owl both for its stimulating name and its interesting reddy-brownish colouring. The illustrations in this book are just wonderful and perfectly compliment the light-hearted tone of the text. Apart from our flammulated friend, I was also quite taken with the Collared Scops Owl (looking set for a walk-on role as an alien in a Doctor Who episode), the Greater Sooty Owl (a mystical looking Australian owl with excellent night camouflage) and the Crested Owl (unmatched in eyebrow prowess).
The last few pages of the book are devoted to a spotter’s checklist, featuring smaller pictures of each of the owls, so that keen readers can tick off the exotic owls as they spot them. This is a bit of a tongue-in-cheek feature I suspect, but fun for inspiring the latent bird-watcher inside the armchair enthusiast.
Progress toward Nonfiction Reading Challenge: 12/16
Until next time,