Thursday, August 20, 2015
Book Review: Owls: Our Most Charming Bird by Matt Sewell
Author: Matt Sewell
In this beautiful and highly giftable art book, artist and ornithologist Matt Sewell captures 50 species of the world's most evocative bird: the owl. Using pop-art watercolors and accompanied by witty and irreverent descriptions, Sewell expresses the individual characters of owls as never before. From tiny elf owls to huge Eurasian eagle owls, from the haunting barn owl to the elegant great horned owl, these wise, magical birds are otherworldly in their striking colors and stature. It's not just birdwatchers who are obsessed: Owls are a perennial favorite in pop culture, decorating, and among children as well as nature lovers and serious birders. From David Sedaris's Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls to Harry Potter's pet Hedwig, and throwback interest in Twin Peaks (which is returning to TV in 2016) and its trademark spooky owls, these birds are here to stay.
This book is a fun introduction to owls, my favorite bird. It was completely different from what I expected. I read it thinking I was going to get some sort of scientific breakdown of each bird, and that it would be a little bit of a dry read. I was totally wrong! I should have guessed from this cute cover that this book was going to be different.
Written in short little bursts, each owl has a short paragraph or two, with a super cute drawing of the owl accompanying the description. But the way the information is presented is what sets this book apart. Each little snap about an owl is whimsical, fantastical, playful, and full of description and personality. While you don't get the most scientific information you do gain some knowledge, just in a more fun and easy to read way. A few examples:
About the Long-eared Owl: "With a scowl that could send an icy shiver down the binoculars of whomever dared to gaze upon her - before petrifying the stoutest of hearts."
The Northern Saw-Whet: "Yup, the Northern Saw-Whet Owl is an absolute darling, with a permanent look of surprise spread across its adorable little face."
The whole book reads this way, and it is such a delight! I highly recommend it to anyone, bird lover or not!