Owly, Volume 1: The Way Home and the Bittersweet Summer by Andy Runton
Rating: G; 3 1/2 stars
Summary: The Owly comics are books about an adorable owl and his best friend/roommate Wormy. Volume one includes a story about how Owly and Wormy meet, as well as an enjoyable summer spent with two hummingbirds.
Opinions: I don't know what it is, but I've been reading a lot more children's books lately. I mean, I normally read YA, but now I'm reading picture books and things of that nature. I suppose part of it can be attributed to my Children's Lit class...but I feel like that isn't all of it. In any case...
The Owly comics are unique among other comic books/graphic novels that I've read, based solely on the fact that there are no words in them (other than the occasional onomatopoeia or exclamation). The stories are told simply (as is necessary, in a story with no words), but that doesn't mean they aren't clever. I personally found them absolutely adorable. There's something so charming about Owly's simple naivete. In my experience with other Owly volumes, he's even adorable when he's sad, and no matter the situation, Owly is one of those books that will make you happier.
That being said, the format and style has its limitations. I can see someone not liking the Owly books simply because Owly is so relentlessly optimistic. Although it's enjoyable, it isn't very realistic. In the book's defense, though, I would laugh at anyone who said that Owly was supposed to be realistic. It would be like if someone argued that Calvin and Hobbes is supposed to be realistic. Some things aren't.
This book is also an incredibly quick read, and although that's sometimes nice, it can leave the reader with some slight dissatisfaction at the end. But I suppose that's an innate limitation of the comic form. Sometimes they are going be a bit too brief.
In general, I really enjoyed Owly, but the limits of the form are causing me to lower the rating just a wee bit. I spent an lovely half hour or so reading this, but I don't think it'll rank in my top ten for the year. There was absolutely nothing inappropriate or objectionable in this book. It may be a great book to read with a child who likes telling you how the story “really” goes.