Watch out! Hoot Owl is hungry in an offbeat story with deadpan humor and bold, striking illustrations.
Hoot Owl is no ordinary owl. He is a master of disguise! In the blackness of night, he’s preparing to swoop on his prey before it can realize his dastardly tricks. Look there—a tasty rabbit for him to eat! Hoot Owl readies his costume, disguising himself as . . . a carrot! Then he waits. The rabbit runs off. Never mind! Surely his next juicy target will cower against such a clever and dangerous creature as he! Kids will hoot at Sean Taylor’s deliciously tongue-in-beak narration, belied by the brilliantly comical illustrations of Jean Jullien.
About the Author
Sean Taylor is an author, storyteller, and teacher who has written more than twenty books for young children, including The World Champion of Staying Awake, illustrated by Jimmy Liao. Sean Taylor divides his time between the U.K. and Brazil.
Jean Jullien is a graphic designer who works in a wide range of media, including illustration, photography, video, installation, and clothing. His clients have included the New Yorker, New York magazine, the Guardian, and the Pompidou Center. Originally from France, he now lives in London and regularly exhibits his work in both places.
Smart pacing, easy-to-read spreads, and complete confidence that no animals will be hurt in the reading of this book make it a winner.
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Jullien's bold, black outlines, expressive animal eyes and positioning (Hoot Owl is frequently sideways) hilariously complement Taylor's text, which reveals the predator as both melodramatic ("The shadowy night stretches away forever, as black as burnt toast") and unflustered. Rich, matte colors and a flattish, zoomed-in perspective of the nighttime scenes keep the vibe immediate and nonthreatening. Never fear: Hoot Owl's "deadly-dangerous beak" eventually chomps on something that even squeamish readers will approve of. A rib-tickling pleaser.
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
The owl’s braggadocio and camouflage amuse throughout. Jullien’s spreads feature primary colors and mostly black backgrounds that feature playfully rounded cartoon characters.
—School Library Journal
The colors are bold; the shapes are simple; and outlines are thick.... This one’s a winner, the humor dry and perfectly understated and Hoot Owl, a very funny character I hope we readers see again. It’s, quite simply, a hoot.
—Kirkus Reviews Children's Book blog
This simple story packs plenty of punch. Hoot Owl is a comic, suspenseful tale that will no doubt be a hit night after night.
An airborne predator of dubious cleverness swoops through the inky pages of “Hoot Owl: Master of Disguise," a hilarious picture book for 3- to 8-year-olds written by Sean Taylor. This bedtime read is an object lesson in charming contrasts.
—The Wall Street Journal
Jullien's thick black outlines and saturated colors make the night come alive, and Taylor's wordplay is as satisfying as a pepperoni pizza. The finale opens the door for a sequel... please.
Hoot Owl’s grandiloquent narration (“I swoop through the bleak blackness like a wolf in the air”) will make for comic reading aloud ... Fans of DaCosta’s Nighttime Ninja will appreciate Hoot Owl’s melodramatic pursuit, and they may be inspired to emulate his hunt of a helpless pizza.
—Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
—Midwest Book Review