I wish I knew who gave Andrew Owl Moon. Nancy probably remembers.
It’s the perfect bedtime book: large format, large pictures. And a perfect story for slowing down.
It’s the story of a little girl on a farm in mid-winter, awakened by her Pa to go owling. Owling is quiet work, bird watching at night. Owling is following work, little legs following long legs through the snow. Owling is waiting work, finding the clearing in the middle of the night.
The reader speaks softly, matching the deep blues of the picture and the silence of the night. The listener cuddles close, small body fitting into the footprint. The breathing of everyone slows.
Until the owl speaks. “Whoo who who who whoooooooo.” First in the voice of Pa calling, then in the voice of the dad in the chair. And then, hope against hope, in the owl flying large on the page, close through the clearing. And then the little girl is carried home, the boy is carried to bed.
We read it often, Andrew and I. This book he got near the time of the death of his sister if I remember right. It worked on us both . He, for all the normal reasons quiet books work to calm children for bed. Me, for the quiet reminder to show up and listen. Through a winter in my heart it worked and then a hope began to grow. in Nancy, and in me.
The book ends quietly: “When you go owling, you don’t need sounds or warm or anything but hope. That’s what Pa always says. The kind of hope that flies on silent wings under a shining Owl Moon.” And one night, I knew it was true.
“Her name is Hope,” I told Nancy. And she is.