Artist and avid ornithologist, Matt Sewell, has built a brand writing and distinctively illustrating informative, yet accessibly appealing books about birds. In Our Garden Birds and Our Songbirds, he presented two volumes, each exploring 52 favorite species from England—one bird for each week of the year. In Owls: Our Most Charming Bird, Sewell branches out beyond Great Britain and offers a world-wide compendium of various owls: multi-faceted, nocturnal birds of prey. Watercolors rendered in Pop-Art style and concise, lively prose highlight the individuality of 50 different species of owls that are indigenous to diverse regions of the world.
Sewell explores Woodland varieties like the Northern Saw-whet Owl--native to North America--which is "smaller-than-a-blackbird and fluffier-than-a-three-week-old Labrador" and has "pleading, puppy-dog eyes" etched with a permanent look of surprise. The Great Gray Owl, with a head like a "geodesic dome inhabited by a bunch of strung-out hippies," is considered a Wilderness variety that is a stealthy hunter built to survive in northern, glacial environments. The Elf Owl is one of the smallest that loves cacti and inhabits Wild West deserts of the USA and Mexico. While the Crested Owl is indigenous to tropical Central and South American climates and has eyebrows that appear like "incredible appendages" that serve to aid his camouflage efforts when pretending to be a branch.
This playful, well-conceived collection enhances--and also shatters--myths and folklores surrounding these "all-seeing, all-knowing" mysterious and imperious bird-hunters and proves fiercely entertaining and enriching in the process.
Ten Speed Press, $12.99 Hardcover, 9781607748793, 128 pp
Publication Date: September 22, 2015
Note: This review is a reprint and is being posted (in a slightly different form) with the permission of Shelf Awareness. To read this review on Shelf Awareness: Reader's Edition (10/2/15), link HERE