Hoot Owl may very well be the master of disguise, for so the supremely confident narrator of this story declares himself to be. I leave that to you to decide, but Taylor and Jullien are most definitely masters of deliciously droll humour.
In the black of night, Owl dons a series of dotty disguises in an effort to beguile a rabbit, a lamb and a pigeon to become his next repast before, having failed miserably each time, deciding on something altogether more suitable for his next tum-filling attempt.
Much of the fun comes from the fact that never once does the predatory Hoot Owl doubt himself, nor his crazy methods: ‘Soon my sharp beak will be gobbling the rabbit up’ he asserts and even after two failures … ‘In a matter of moments the pigeon will be in my tummy.’ It isn’t; but the hilarious ending allows him to maintain his self-esteem and eat his fill. – with that ‘deadly-dangerous beak’ of his.
This is a great read aloud book that allows adults to give full vent to their theatrical instincts and has had my primary school age audiences enthusiastically joining in with Hoot Owl’s oft repeated assertion, ‘I am the master of disguise’, relishing his failures and enthusing over his (and Taylor’s) melodramatic narration: ‘I swoop through the bleak blackness like a wolf in the air’ and ‘The shadowy night stretches away forever, as black as burnt toast’ are just two of the tasty verbal tidbits we’re treated to.
Equally good and a perfect complement to Taylor’s text is Jullien’s portrayal of that inept ovoid owl going about his hapless hunting. Every spread is a laugh-inducer and the matte colour palette, thick black outlined images, and side-on perspectives of Hoot in flight in particular – oh! and those eyes – are quite superb.