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Review: Owly & Wormy: Friends All Aflutter!

Owly and Wormy are sad because all of the butterflies have left their garden. They plant new flowers that Raccoon says the butterflies will like, but all that shows up are two friendly caterpillars. But when the caterpillars disappear, Owly and Wormy are sad. What has happened to their new friends?

Owly & Wormy: Friends All Aflutter!
Andy Runton
Ages: 3-7
Simon and Schuster, March 2011, ISBN 978-1-4169-5774-4
40 pages, $15.99

Owly, the titular character from Andy Runton‘s beloved wordless graphic novels (published by Top Shelf), is now available in a full-color picture book sure to please both kids and their parents. Because of the unique visual vocabulary used in the Owly books, pre-readers can more than likely read the story to themselves. Runton uses the familiar comic book speech bubbles, but they are filled with images rather than words. For example, if Owly wants to say that someone is his friend, the speech bubble will have a picture of the person, an equals sign (=), and a smiley face. It’s an effective technique. The book does have a few words, but they do not take the place of the pictures, so youngsters will still be able to grasp the story.

Runton’s story is gentle and sweet, but it never slips over into sugary or babyish. Fans of the graphic novels will be thrilled to see their old friend in vivid colors which are shaded enough to keep the images from seeming cartoonish or overly bright. New readers don’t need to know anything about Owly and his world to understand what is going on, but if they enjoy this book, then definitely steer them towards Runton’s previous works. Preschool and kindergarten teachers looking for an enjoyable way to teach their students about the life of butterflies and caterpillars are another perfect audience for this book. Runton makes the cycle fun to learn.

This review is based on a complimentary copy supplied by the publisher. All images copyright © Simon & Schuster.

Snow Wildsmith About Snow Wildsmith

Snow Wildsmith is a writer and former teen librarian. She has served on several committees for the American Library Association/Young Adult Library Services Association, including the 2010 Michael L. Printz Award Committee. She reviews graphic novels for Booklist, ICv2's Guide, No Flying No Tights, and Good Comics for Kids and also writes booktalks and creates recommended reading lists for Ebsco's NoveList database. Currently she is working on her first books, a nonfiction series for teens.

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