Readaloud of the Week: Owls in the Family

Owls in the Family
By Farley Mowat

In brief: Billy rescues two great horned owls and brings them to his family’s Saskatchewan home, and hijinks ensue. Wol is a comedy genius, battling it out with skunks (during dinner) and terrorizing everyone from the minister to Billy’s French teacher, while Weeps is afraid of everything except the family dog.

What makes it a great readaloud: This old-fashioned, episodic novels lets kids peek into truly free-range childhood: Billy and his friends roam their neighborhood and the surrounding prairie with enviable freedom, and the owls’ (and boys’) antics provide plenty of laugh-out-loud entertainment.

But be aware: You may want to remind your kids that we know more now than we did then about how to treat wild animals—some of Billy’s stories (such as when he robs birds’ nests of their eggs) don’t jibe with current environmental ethics.