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An owl at sea
2019
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Summary

This is the true story of a Short-eared Owl that plummeted onto the deck of an oil rig in the North Sea, one hundred miles from shore. Weak and tired, it huddled on the deck until riggers provided it with a makeshift shelter and fresh meat to eat. When a helicopter arrived to transport some of the workers back home, they took the owl with them, handing it over to the Scottish SPCA. A few weeks later the owl was strong enough to be released into the countryside.

Susan Vande Griek's gentle prose poem describes this unusual encounter with a creature from the wild with curiosity and wonder. Ian Wallace's stunning watercolors show gorgeous seascapes, the subtle beauty of the owl, and the oil rig and its workers, creating compelling visual contrasts.

An author's note includes information about the Short-eared Owl, a bird found in the Americas, Europe and Asia, whose numbers may be in decline due to loss of habitat.

Trade Reviews
Booklist Review
Far from home, a short-eared owl flies over open seas. Wings rowing slowly, / beating long, / eyes searching for field or fencepost, / but finding none. Exhausted, it lands on an oil rig 100 miles from shore and falls asleep. The riggers soon put it in a dry, sheltered box with a blanket and bits of meat until, a few days later, a helicopter lands on the platform. A worker bundles up the owl and takes it aboard for the flight homeward. After recovering at an aviary, the owl is released over a grassy field. Inspired by a newspaper account of an owl found on an oil-drilling platform near Scotland, this picture book tells the story through spare lines of verse text and handsome watercolor illustrations. The tension comes early in the story, when the owl's fate depends on finding shelter before it's too tired to fly, but children will continue to care about the lost bird throughout the precise, understated narrative. Wallace's watercolor paintings illustrate the verse very effectively. A quietly engaging picture book.--Carolyn Phelan Copyright 2019 Booklist
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