A few days ago, I posted about the floods of tears I found myself in while reading about the death of a honey bee to my children. Yesterday, I'm pleased (I guess) to report that my older son had a similar experience, crying over a book for the first time (it's not that I want them to be sad, per se, but I think it's important to learn that crying over books is ok). And the book that provoked this reaction--another graphic book, one of the sweetest, most poignant books I've read (if one can "read" a book that has no words) --- Owly-- The Way Home and The Bittersweet Summer, by Andy Runton (2004).
These are two separate stories, about an owl's desperate need for friends. I was just looking at the first few pages up on line here at Andy Runton's website (click on the picture of the book), and Owly's lonely sadness made me weepy all over again. Even after the birds fly from him, he still puts seeds out for them...Poor lonely Owl. After the birds and fireflies reject him, he saves a drowning worm. But when he takes the worm home to its parents, they slam the door in his face, and we see him walking away, alone again, so sad (this is where my son lost it). I am so glad that (spoiler) he and Wormy were together at the end. Phew. "The Bittersweet Summer" is much less fraught, because Owly and Wormy are still friends, although the discerning reader can guess from the title that there are still tricky bits emotionally speaking.
I "read" this out loud to my children, which was challenging, because it has almost no words, and I didn't want to add any. So mostly I just made lots of sad noises, and some happy noises. It seemed to work. But it is hard to know when to turn the page--I see faster than they do.
I've just ordered Owly books two, three and four (A Time To be Brave, coming out in October) for my local library.
And if you go to the San Diego Comic-con, you can get an Owly hat. How cute is that! But why, following links promoting Owly mechandize to this end point can you by a men's owly tee shirt, but not a boys? The only kids tee shirt for sale is described as a "girly-T." If I buy one for my son, will he be mocked?