Monday, August 4, 2008

Graphic Novel Monday: Owly 2; Just a Little Blue, by Andy Runton

Owly Volume 2: Just a Little Blue, by Andy Runton. Published 2005 by Top
Shelf Productions. Click on the cover to buy from your local IndieBound-affiliated independent bookseller.

Owly 2 is the third and final installment in my three-part series on comics for kids, and what can I say? This nearly-silent all-ages adventure is adorable.

The cast of characters includes the industrious little Owly, his friend the worm, and a family of birds. Owly decides to build a birdhouse for the family after a misunderstanding with the birdy paterfamilias; apparently the bird family is not excited to see an owl in its territory. Does Owly win them over or do hostilities continue indefinitely? Read the book to find out!

So yes, it's terrific for kids. Like Korgi, Owly is nearly wordless, making it an appropriate choice for kids who aren't reading yet; they can follow the story through the pictures, which are simple but expressive. Runton makes occasional use of words for things like a "welcome" sign and instructions for the birdhouse so it might be handy for an adult to read this book along with a child who really has no reading skills at all. Otherwise the art does all the work. Runton's black and white panels are small and focused so that each one represents a simple, understandable forward movement. The pacing is steady and clear, with a great deal of emphasis on the characters' face and emotions. And the story has a sweet happy ending.

Owly 2 is a great choice for kids of all ages. Runton has two other Owly titles, Owly Volume 1: The Way Home & The Bittersweet Summer, and Owly Volume 3, Flying Lessons, and a website at www.andyrunton.com for more information.