Friday, 5 July 2013

Owl Babies

Written by Martin Waddell and illustrated by Patrick Benson

Welcome to a two-year-old’s emotional landscape. It is not a nuanced, complex watercolour type of affair. Oh no, it is STARK. Emotions are strong or not at all. And Martin Waddell is their Jackie Collins, taking them on a rollercoaster ride through the most dramatic events they can imagine:

  1. Wake up and Mummy isn’t there.
  2. Cry for Mummy and feel very scared of the dark
  3. Mummy returns!
H wanted to read this at least 15 times per day, and also insisted on sharing Sarah, Percy and Bill’s horrific plight with everyone we met for a week. Yes, Crouch End Budgens lady, the owl babies’ mummy went away, but SHE CAME BACK.

By the end of Owl Babies week, I was in tears of joy when Mummy returned and Sarah, Percy and Bill flapped, danced and bounced up and down on their branch. Their soft, feathery owl baby faces melted me into a useless human mummy puddle. I had become addicted to Owl Babies and its cathartic force.

This was the point at which H decided no more Owl Babies. Not sure why, perhaps he felt ashamed of having wallowed in this emotional quagmire for so long. More likely, just over-read, again. I miss those owl babies quite badly.

You should get this one, even if it lasts but a week: it is a wonderful experience. And the illustrations are magnificent, capturing the very essence of baby owl-ness.

My only quibble: H’s dad is a trivia night champion. He has won a £6 bottle of rosé at the Winchester in Highgate on at least three or four occasions. He does not need a son publicly referring to ‘owl babies’. Owlet. Owlet is the correct term, H.

H comment: I no like dis one ANY MORE! Mummy, we NO READ DIS ONE! [Back to Tell the Time with Thomas for us tonight, sigh. That one never grows old]


  1. I read this book to a friends toddler I was babysitting and she was very upset had to skip most of the pages and get straight to the end. Now my daughter always tells people before they even open the book. 'Don't worry mummy comes back!'

  2. Ha! That Martin Waddell is a bit OTT with the sentiment.....there's another one about a girl who goes to the beach at night with her mum, and they are sitting in the moonlight and the mother says 'always remember this' and I literally cannot not cry. It is terrible.