Little Hoot is a happy little owl most of the time – he likes going to school and playing hide-and-seek, but, like most little critters, he does not like bedtime. All Little Hoot wants is to go to bed early, like his friends, and he is hopping mad when Mama and Papa Owl insist that he stay up late and play. In order to become a wise owl, he has to stay up late and, as Papa Owl says, “I don’t give a hoot what time your friends go to bed. In this family, we go to bed late.” What parent hasn’t said something like that at one time or another?
This picture book features a wonderfully fun reversal of the normal bedtime struggle and is sure to delight both adults and children alike, but this reviewer certainly wouldn’t be surprised if this story resonates more with the adult than the child. Little Hoot is perfect for bedtime and I found it much more interesting than the average, traditional bedtime story, not least because it makes bedtime seem so appealing.
Unsurprisingly, and as is often the case with the books I recommend, the illustrations are my favorite part. I especially enjoy it when they take the story further and add more details and humor than the text alone can provide. Little children will love helping Little Hoot find his friends as they play hide-and-seek in a full page spread, and I couldn’t help but smile when I noticed all the words Little Hoot was learning at school started with a “Wh.”
The ink and watercolor illustrations are quite minimalist and alternative in style, but their simplicity perfectly complements Rosenthal’s text. The author and illustrator have managed to make the book feel like a cohesive whole, by means of the leafy endpapers, the twig-like font, and the details in the pictures (for example, Little Hoot’s sword is a stick and his bed is made of branches and leaves).
Little Hoot is a sweet, humorous tale and the character of Little Hoot is adorable – he’s just the right mix of grouchiness, stubbornness, and little-boy charm.
Check the WRL catalog for Little Hoot.