My baby loves owls (an affinity orchestrated by my partner who hung three little canvass prints of ridiculously adorable, brightly-colored cartoon owls with enormous eyes over her crib), which is why this book originally caught my eye at the library. I would have checked it out just because of the owls. But in the end, it’s Squirrel who steals the show. Never has a children’s book had an ending so perfect as this one.
SPOILER ALERT. I’m gonna tell you how it ends.
The story opens with Mommy Owl and Little Owl asleep in their nest. Little Owl leans a bit too far over the edge and tumbles out. LO falls to the forest floor, where we meet Squirrel. LO is not hurt, but is rather lost, and asks Squirrel where Mommy Owl could be. The two embark on a search for Mommy Owl, which follows a trajectory not unlike the P.D. Eastman classic Are You My Mother? In the end, they meet Frog (mistaken for Little Owl’s mommy by Squirrel because they both have “BIG eyes,” as described by LO). Frog leads them all to Mommy Owl, who has been frantically searching for LO. She thanks Frog and Squirrel for finding her baby.
And then (here’s where the story just makes you want to die of cute), almost randomly, Mommy Owl asks if everyone wants to come up to their nest for cookies. “Yes, please,” says Squirrel. And here’s the clincher – the most perfect line ever uttered by a neon pink, talking woodland creature: “Cookies are our favorite thing.”
The End (Basically. I’m not going to give the WHOLE story away).
So, to sum up, cute owls, cute forest animals, funny dialogue, suspense, emotional family reunion, brilliant ending involving baked goods. Best book ever. Go check it out.