Owl Moon by Jane Yolen


Yolk, J. & Schoenherr, J. (1987). Owl Moon. New York: Philomela Books.

Fiction, appropriate for ages 3+


Owl Moon is about an endearing adventure of a father and daughter as they trek into the woods to go owl hunting.  This story is full of imagery and figurative language and is great for introducing the learning topic in the classroom.  The little girl understands that she must be quiet and face the cold as her father calls out for the Great Horned Owl.  She is then faced with bravery as the owl calls back and lands on a tree right in front of them.


Owl Moon includes significant details about owls, such as what kind of sounds they make and what they look like. After reading the book, discuss other key facts about owls, such as what kind of owls live in different climates, what they eat, how fast they can fly, how long they live and whether they migrate.

The narrator of Owl Moon talks about concepts like being brave and having to practice self control.  There is also the concept of hope, which the narrator says is one of the things you need to have to go owling.



4. Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grade 2 reading and content, choosing exibly from an array of strategies.

a.Use sentence-level context as a clue to the meaning of a word or phrase.

Lesson Objective:  After reading Owl Moon, the students will be able to use context clues to identify the meanings of words or phrases.

Discussion Questions: The little girl was very quiet when she was walking. Why do you think it was important for her to be quiet?; What is snow?; What kinds of things do you like to do in the snow?; Why are the little girl and her dad dressed in such warm clothes? My short, round shadow bumped after me. What is a ‘shadow’?; Pa shrugged and I shrugged. What is a ‘shrug’?

Lesson Activity: Before the story – Introduce the book.  Tell the students the title of the book and talk about the author and illustrator. Discuss the illustration on the cover. You might talk about what an owl is and where owls live.

During the story – Ask open-ended questions as you read the story. Open-ended questions increase the amount of talk about a book and help students focus on the details of the story and the illustrations. Open-ended questions require more than a yes or no answer.

Find the hidden animals. See if your students can find the animals in the illustrations (e.g., rabbit, dog, bird, mouse, raccoon, deer, and of course, the owl).

Talk about new vocabulary.

After the story – Draw with watercolors. Tell your students that the illustrator, John Schoenherr, used watercolors to create the beautiful illustrations in the book. Provide your students with watercolor sets and plain white paper (drawing paper works best). Before you set them loose, it’s important to teach watercolor techniques. Modeling is critical to avoid disaster.

  • Provide watercolor sets, paintbrushes, drawing paper and low small rectangular water containers that will not tip over easily.
  • Dip the paintbrush in the water and remove the excess water.
  • Use the paintbrush to wet the paint and then gently apply strokes onto the paper.
  • Rinse the brush well between colors.
  • Be gentle with the brush.
  • Have fun painting.
  • Leave the wet painting flat to dry.




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