About the Holiday
International Owl Awareness Day raises awareness of these feathered beauties that can be found all over the world in nearly every ecosystem. The day also encourages people to learn more about the owls in their area as well as to consider ways they can make their yards or the surrounding landscape more welcoming and beneficial to owls. To learn more about owls and how you can help these beautiful birds, visit American Eagle Foundation website and the Half-Earth Project.
By Christopher Denise
“Since the day he was hatched, Owl had one wish. To be a knight.” Armored in his mother’s pot and cookie sheet, he played knight at home, and he watched the awe-inspiring parade of knights and their horses as they passed through the forest. One mighty knight even raised his gauntleted hand in response to Owl’s small wave of his wing. Before falling asleep each morning, he dreamed of being a real knight—brave, clever, and with lots of friends.
Owl thought it was just wishful thinking until knights began disappearing, and a call went out recruiting new ones. Knighthood was being fast-tracked, the advertisement proclaimed, and trainees could begin living “a life of honor and adventure” in just two weeks. Owl applied… and was accepted. “Owl was an excellent student,” even tutoring the older knights. But the sword, shield, and daytime hours posed challenges. Despite these, Owl “graduated with honor, as all knights do.”
Much to his delight, Owl “was assigned to Knight Night Watch.” While the other knights dozed during the long, dark hours, Owl remained vigilant at his parapet. One night, he heard a loud “Whoosh!!! It sounded like a huge bird flapping its wings. ‘Whoooo,’ Owl called.” Suddenly, an enormous dragon landed behind Owl. Despite his fear at learning that the dragon was hungry, Owl “puffed out his feathers and said, ‘I am Owl, and I am a knight of the Night Watch.'”
The dragon was ready to gobble him up as a midnight snack, when Owl cleverly convinced him to try something “tastier and more filling.” The dragon was game, and as they sat together eating their (much better) dinner, they talked about hatching from eggs, how much they loved nighttime, and the wonder of flying. It turned out they “had a lot in common.” From that night on, no knights disappeared, and Owl continued to guard the walls. He liked his knightly duties because “he was brave, he was clever…. And he had many friends.”
Christoper Denise’s Knight Owl glows with the magical kind of storytelling that makes kids believe they can do and be anything. While Owl dreams of being a knight, readers will find the qualities of this calling—bravery, cleverness, and having many friend—applies equally to whatever pursuit they dream of. The story is sprinkled with humor, gentle suspense, and Owl’s palpable pride in being a knight—all elements that will keep kids riveted to the pages that are each stunning works of art that play with perspective and lighting and hold details that will charm readers of all ages.
Denise’s absolutely adorable Owl will tug at your heart as he sits devouring a book of knightly tales while surrounded by wooden medieval toy figures; armors up with cookware and kitchen utensils while his father reads a newspaper touting missing knights and his mother readies a pan for the oven; and keeps Knight Night Watch, his eyes barely peeking over the wall (the page turn reveals that Owl is standing on a ladder to reach this height—another detail that will resonate with kids). The size and armor of the knights are nothing short of astounding. You can almost hear the creak and clash of metal as they ride their horses through the forest and mill about at Knight School. Owl’s dream, rendered as a tapestry, is another showstopper. The dragon Denise has conjured is everything a child wants a dragon to be while also amenable to a delicious snack, good conversation, and companionship.
Gifting children with a tiny hero who has big dreams and a bigger heart, Knight Owl is simply a must for all home bookshelves as well as for classroom, school, and public library collections. The book would also make a much-loved gift for the holidays, other special occasions, or “just because.”
Ages 2 – 8
Christy Ottaviano Books, 2022
Discover more about Christopher Denise, his books, and his art, visit his website.
International Owl Appreciation Day Activity
Whooo’s There? Word Search Puzzle
Can you find the nineteen types of owls that call the United States home in this printable puzzle?
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