Thursday, January 28, 2016

Review: Owls: Our Most Charming Bird

Fast on the heels of my coloring book review I have another Blogging for Books review.  This time I selected a very playful non-fiction book.  I guess I'd call it a  birding book for people who are not birders.  The book is entitled Owls: Our Most Charming Bird by Matt Sewell.  They certainly are charming--and so is the artwork in this book.
Frankly, I am not sure exactly how to go about evaluating and reviewing this book.  The birder in me has a hard time not being too critical.  I mean, the art was great, but I think I was hoping for a little more from the text.  Scattered throughout the different entries there are sentences which hint at the things that make owls so unique--their large, fixed eyes, facial disks, and specialized vertebrae, for example--but they were just hinted at.  I wanted more.
So, I guess I can say that if a person just wanted to look at sweet, cartoonish, little owl drawings this is the book for you.  If you want to actually learn about owls it might be an okay place to start, but will leave you, like me, needing to find out more elsewhere.  Maybe that is okay.  To just be a launching pad for further exploration.  I ended up reading it alongside my National Geographic Guide to the Birds of North America--though Sewell's collection of owls is certainly not limited to North America.
Owls is laid out a bit like a guidebook, breaking owls into habitats such as Tropical Owls, Woodland Owls, Desert Owls, etc and including a checklist at the end to mark the species observed.  The owl drawings and text are rather non-technical--though often quite humorous, giving anthropomorphic traits to the various owls based on their appearance or behavior.
Matt Sewell is, it seems, a talented artist who also happens to love birds.  This book is a combination of both passions.  Owls are beautiful and I can see why they would be a never ending source of inspiration for an artist.   There are so many kinds and they're all either A) incredibly adorable, or B) awesomely fierce-looking.
I love owls--that is why I just had to try out this book.  They're so majestic and mysterious--hard to spot and often only coming out for the night.  It was interesting to learn more about owls that live around the world--an owl that only lives in Jamaica, say.  As I was reading I realized that I'm really only familiar with ones I stand a chance of seeing in the flesh.  Owls are a gift for the whole wide world.  Every place on earth seems to have one.
I don't think I'll keep the book--though I might send it to my sister, who apparently also has a fondness for owls.  It was fun to read and look at, but I don't see myself reading it again--or using it as a bird reference book--so I cannot justify the shelf space in keeping it.
It really was cute though.

Full Disclosure:  I received a free copy of this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for my review.

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Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts and ideas. I value the advice and friendship that you share with me!