Jill Tomlinson never intended to be a writer. She trained as an opera singer, and then decided to have a family whilst her voice matured. But illness intervened, and she had to find another outlet for her energies. She started on a journalism course, and by the third lesson decided she wanted to write for children. So she did! Jill Tomlinson's animal stories are much-loved and have been bestselling children's books for nearly four decades. Paul Howard is an extraordinarily talented illustrator who has illustrated many award-winning books from authors such as Allan Ahlberg, Jeanne Willis and Michael Rosen, and has delighted children and reviewers across the world. Paul is probably best known as the illustrator of Jill Tomlinson's animal stories, which include The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark. Paul lives in Belfast with his wife, an award winning television producer, and three children. Writing and illustrating his own stories, Paul's authorial debut - Bugville - was published by Egmont in 2012.
Howard's glorious nocturnal illustrations give new life to the late British author's 1968 tale of an owlet frightened of the night. "The dark is scary," Plop tells Mommy Barn Owl, who wisely instructs him to learn a bit more about it before passing judgment. Soon, Plop is off seeking new acquaintances, both human and animal, who tell him their favorite things about the evening, from fireworks and campfire singalongs to viewing the constellations ("The dark is wondrous. Look through the telescope," says one gentleman he meets). Tomlinson's reassuring tale is aimed squarely at preschoolers, who will thrill to a familiar scenario played out in an unusual setting. Howard's expertly shaded pastels evoke the owls' feather-softness against full-bleed illustrations in glowing, naturalistic colors, which he augments with smaller sepia vignettes. One particularly memorable scene features a close-up of Plop flanked by his parents, the three of them staring out at readers with the sparkle of a fireworks display reflected in their large eyes. As for the round, plump and utterly fetching Plop himself, he's an irresistible ball of fluff who may well convert a host of readers to nighttime's appeal. Ages 3-up. (Aug.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
K-Gr 2-Plop the baby barn owl needs to overcome his fear of the night, because that's when he and his parents must go hunting. His understanding mother suggests that he ask various other creatures why they like the dark. A boy calls it exciting because he can see fireworks, an old lady finds it kind as she remembers past pleasures, a Boy Scout says it's fun because friends can sing around the campfire and drink cocoa, a girl maintains that it is necessary so that Santa can come, an astronomer terms it wondrous because he can see the constellations, and a cat simply points out the beauty of the sleeping town. Now convinced that the dark is just right, Plop becomes a night owl. This newly illustrated version of a British classic has winning full-page and page-and-a-half pastel pictures in midnight blues and soft daytime shades that show a sweetly fluffy owlet, his wide-eyed parents, and his new friends.-Patricia Pearl Dole, formerly at First Presbyterian School, Martinsville, VA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.