Hoot Owl, Master of Disguise

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Hoot Owl, Master of Disguise
Sean Taylor and Jean Jullien
Walker Books
Owl is a kind of superhero-cum comedian: he’s mega confident and one thing is for sure, that self-proclaimed ‘master of disguise’ is very, very hungry. He, the narrator of this tale in fact, also has a way with words. “The night has a thousand eyes, and two of them are mine. I swoop through the bleak blackness, like a wolf in the air.” he declares having failed in his first attempt to fill his tum. In that instance, with a tasty bunny, who sees through his first ‘delicious carrot’ disguise.

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Never mind, there’s a juicy lamb (love those specs) standing ‘helpless in the cool of the night’ our wordsmith informs us as he comes to land again

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and quickly dons his next disguise. Of course that lamb too (helped by those fetching specs I suspect) sees through the disguise and vanishes in a flash. No matter, our hungry hunter has another trick in his bag of disguises; off he goes again, still supremely confident as ‘The terrible silence of the night spreads everywhere.” A pigeon is next to face the ‘dangerous creature-of-the dark’ – he really talks himself up does Hoot Owl, but again the costume fails to fool.


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But, does he finally manage to achieve satisfaction? Well, you’ll just have to get hold of a copy of this hilarious book to find out. Till then, let’s just say that his next prey is an inert object (one this vegetarian review can almost but not quite, approve of) and his next disguise, something altogether easier to pull off – literally.
Beautifully written and with such great comic timing, Sean Taylor’s text is, and I make no apologies, a real HOOT. If Hoot Owl is master of disguise, then surely Taylor is master of suspense. My four to seven year old listeners loved the fact that although Owl constantly sounds impressively fierce, he doesn’t ever attack in the aggressive sense; his tactics are altogether more passive, if (albeit) inept. They also loved Jean Jullien’s bold illustrations and were inspired to try some of their own. Here’s one…

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Jullien’s matt colours work perfectly and he capture’s the author’s droll humour brilliantly. I love his almost child-like side views of the predator in flight.
Taylor and Jullien have an absolute winner here: there’s no disguising that.

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