OWLS: Our Most Charming Bird

Are you a fan of scientific or literary research? Do you enjoy learning how names came to be given or the histories of myth? Do you like owls? 

If you answered ‘yes’ to any of the above questions, you might enjoy reading Matt Sewell’s Owls, Our Most Charming Bird. 

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Owls: Our Most Charming Bird

Written and Illustrated by Matt Sewell

Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint

of the Crown Publishing Group, a division 

of Penguin Random House LLC, New York.

Copyright 2014 by Matt Sewell

It should be no secret that I love owls. I wear owls in some way on an almost daily basis. My rooms have owls on everything from sheets to bookends to artwork. My favorite movie is the Labyrinth and I sometimes watch the opening credits just because I can. So when it was time to request my next Blogging for Books review edition, you can imagine my joy when this adorable little tome popped up on the list of available titles. When I finally received my physical copy, I was excited to find that the pictures did NOT do it justice.

The artwork is gorgeous and quirky with scientific and literary information on each owl species written in the same style as the accompanying illustrations.

According to his “About the Author” page on the Penguin Random House website:

MATT SEWELL is an avid ornithologist, regular contributor to the Caught by the River website, and the author of several other illustrated bird books. His work has been exhibited in London, Manchester, New York, Tokyo, and Paris.

Knowing this, it makes perfect sense that he would be able to create such a curious, creative, and colorful ode to the beautiful birds.

The front cover is reminiscent of a retro text book, the pages remind me of a field journal, and the writing is a fun medley of research, myth, legend, and pithy one liners that can keep just about anyone entertained and educated.

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“I think it would be fair to say that the Elf Owl loves cacti, especially the saguaro – the iconic type that stands sentinel and looks like a silhouette of a swollen, surrendering cowboy (without a hat) against the red desert sky (Sewell, 100).


“…If I had created this book just a year earlier, this fine bird would not have even been discovered yet.” – (Sewe113)


A monarch of the tundra, the snowy owl is a whopper, close to an eagle-owl in height and hunting prowess…” (Sewell, pg 75)

I give the cover, back synopsis, illustrations, and each one page essay a 4.5 out of 5 possible dragons. If you like owls and/or art, you should probably have this book in your library!


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