Today I have another book review based on the recommendation of my daughter. Since she homeschools, she’s always on the lookout for really good books and is gifted at finding the best.
Today’s book is a great summer read for young boys. It is a Yearling book, published in 1961. The setting is Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, on the prairies of Canada.
The title and front cover give you an idea of the content as the story begins in first person from the viewpoint of Billy.
Bruce, a good friend, is along for an adventure as they search for two owlets to add to the menagerie of Billy’s pets which include, a dog, gophers, garter snakes, pigeons, rabbits, white rats (supplied by another friend, Murray, whose dad is a professor at a university which includes a medical school), and a few neighborhood cats.
They find an owl’s nest with three owlets and an angry mother. They decided to enlist the help of one of their favorite teachers, Mr. Miller, to try to capture the babies. Mr. Miller is not successful and loses his hat to the mama owl as she defends her nest.
Billy, Bruce, and Murray spend the next week trying to figure out how to capture the owlets. Luck is with them when a huge storm blows in on Friday night. “Chinooks come down out of the Rocky Mountains in Alberta and sometimes they blow right across Saskatchewan—and they blow like fury.” (p.19) It blew the nest right out of the tree. Only one baby owl survives. They name it Wol.
Later another owl is rescued by Billy from some bullies that were tormenting it. Weeps made a “weepy-whistle” noise which earns his name. Wol and Mutt, Billy’s dog, take the little owl under their wings (pun intended) to comfort and care for it.
The book teaches a lot about how smart God has made His creatures and how they can often interact with each other and people in incredible ways. It also teaches a lot about the characteristics of great horned owls. They are one of the few animals who will kill and eat skunks. Crows and owls are natural enemies and owls will occasionally eat a crow. The crows gather together to run owls off.
*On a side note, my dad has a crow call that he uses to call in crows when he sees a hawk. They will also run off hawks, and he does it to keep the hawks from getting the bluebirds and bunnies that live in his backyard.
The book is full of one exciting adventure after another as the owls adapt to living with their humans. Wol learns to ride the handlebars of Billy’s bike and set on his shoulder without hurting Billy with his talons.
A Note from the Author at the end of the book assures the reader that Wol and Weeps were real as well as Murray, Bruce, and himself, Billy. I highly recommend this book for boys ages 6-12 and any adult male who want to remind themselves of the happier times of their childhood. I also recommend it for reading out loud for family time or while camping out.
As you can see from the sticker on the front of the book, my daughter purchased her copy for $3.00 from a Mennonite store (Gullion’s) that sales used books. You can also buy it from Thriftbooks for $3.99, or Amazon for $5.99.
What is a great summer read that you enjoyed as a child?