The Little Owl & The Big Tree: A Christmas Story (Jonah Winter & Jeanette Winter)

Hello friends! Our book today is The Little Owl & The Big Tree: A Christmas Story by Jonah Winter and Jeanette Winter, the true tale of a little owl and a big adventure.

Once upon a time, there was a little owl – a northern saw-whet owl, to be exact – living in a small hole near the top of a very tall tree. She didn’t have a name, as wild things rarely do, but she was happy and peaceful in her quiet woodland home. That is, until the day the voices and noises came. Suddenly, the little owl found her tree felled, wrapped up, and driving for many hours on busy highways. Where is she headed? When will she get there? And will she find her way back to the wild?

A complicated story covered with delicate grace. Based on the true-life story of Rockefeller the owl, who was discovered during the preparation of the famous Rockefeller Center Christmas tree in 2020, this sweet story of nature and man colliding takes an interesting direction on its subject. The gentle and easy-to-read text tells the owl’s story with fondness yet pragmatism. Humans are not portrayed as monsters for messing with Rockefeller’s natural habitat, nor as heroes for rehabilitating and releasing her after her ordeal. Rockefeller is never overly personified or anthropomorphized, and the audience is repeatedly reminded that she is a wild creature and is meant to be returned to nature (which she is, though not to her home). It’s an oddly bittersweet tone that actually works perfectly for the story itself, encouraging readers to consider how humans impact the wilderness, for better or worse. The artwork is well done, using color and energy to reflect the owl’s moods rather than facial expressions, keeping with the story’s themes. The length is perfect for a storytime, and JJ enjoyed the soft illustrations and adorable owl. A complex book, and one definitely worth checking out. Overall, Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

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