I was putting away some of the reader copies recently and noticed, Owly: The Way Home. Andy Runton must have a magic wand that enchanted the book as I was not in a cute, big-eyed-owl mood, but I had to have this book. And had to read it, despite the tower of books taller than me I already have on the TBR list.
This graphic novel is good for young readers. It is a basic story with simple text but both story and text are strong. The characters are nice. They are nice looking, they are nicely mannered, they have nice intentions. Even when bad things happen it is just because of a misunderstanding or something nobody could control. It is not obnoxious characters doing obnoxious things. The story is simple. Owly wants to help, but his intentions are misunderstood, until he helps Wormy. They become best friends and go on a couple of adventures.
The first and obvious message of the story is be kind to others. The second part is how we communicate. I would not be surprised to learn that Owly was on the autism spectrum as Owly speaks differently from his friends, but they understand him. Some even can speak his language. This difference in language is obvious: Owly only speaks in images and the others speak in text; with some speaking both text and images. Perhaps there is something else going on (maybe Owly represents a deaf character, or one where “English” (or the language of the people around Owly speak) is not the first language of Owly, so he mixes both together therefore “sounding” the way it does. However, his friends teach him in ways you teach someone who has autism. But also, they teach him as if you are teaching a young child. There is room for interpretation.
The authors/illustrator description of how Owly was born is a hoot. I just knew that Owly had to have been created that way. The artwork is fantastic. The drawings are comfortable, detailed in ways that may not be completely needed to move the story along, but are there to show you what kind of owl Owly is. The colors bright. Reading the ARC meant only some of the book was in color, therefore I cannot wait to see the hummingbirds at the end/in the second story included in the ARC.