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Children's Literature Reviews
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Owl in love
Patrice Kindl.
Contributor biographical information
Publisher description
Boston : Houghton Mifflin, c1993.
204 p. ; 22 cm.


A fourteen-year-old girl, who can transform herself into an owl at will, discovers interesting new relationships with both humans and owls when she develops a crush on her science teacher.

Best Books:

Best of the Best Revisited (100 Best Books for Teens), 2001 ; American Library Association-YALSA; United States
Books for You: An Annotated Booklist for Senior High, Twelfth Edition, 1995 ; National Council of Teachers of English; United States
Books in the Middle: Outstanding Books, 1994 ; Voice of Youth Advocates; United States
Bulletin Blue Ribbons, 1993 ; Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books; United States
Kirkus Book Review Stars, 1993 ; United States
Middle And Junior High School Library Catalog, Eighth Edition, 2000 ; H.W. Wilson; United States
Middle and Junior High School Library Catalog, Ninth Edition, 2005 ; H.W. Wilson; United States
Notable Children's Books, 1994 ; Association for Library Service to Children; United States
Publishers Weekly Book Review Stars, September 1993 ; Cahners; United States
YALSA Best Books for Young Adults, 1995 ; American Library Association; United States
YALSA Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers, 1994 ; American Library Association; United States

Awards, Honors, Prizes:

Golden Kite Award, 1994 Honor Book Fiction United States
Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Children's Literature, 1995 Winner United States

State and Provincial Reading Lists:

Eliot Rosewater Indiana High School Book Award , 2000-2001 ; Nominee; Indiana

Reading Measurement Programs:

Accelerated Reader" "
Interest Level Upper Grade" "
Book Level 5.1" "
Accelerated Reader Points 7" "" "

Reading Counts-Scholastic
Interest Level High School
Reading Level 6
Title Point Value 12
Lexile Measure 720


Jeanne Triner (Booklist, Sept. 1, 1993 (Vol. 90, No. 1))
Fourteen-year-old Owl Tycho, a shape shifter who can transform from human to owl at will, is in love with her science teacher, Mr. Lindstrom, and keeps a nightly vigil outside his bedroom window. When a starving, wild-eyed boy sets up camp in the woods nearby, she senses a connection between the boy, whom she names Houle, and the new, rather inept owl in the neighborhood. Owl literally takes him under her wing and feeds him the prey she catches. Once she learns that Mr. Lindstrom has an institutionalized son and that a patient has recently escaped, all the pieces fall together, and Houle becomes the focus of Owl's affection. With the help of her loyal friend and lab partner, Dawn, Owl learns to understand the real meaning of love and the importance of friendship. The coincidence of Owl's obsession with Mr. Lindstrom, a man whose son is also a shape shifter, is a bit much, and the scenes in the institution from Houle's point of view are out of sequence with his escape and arrival in the woods. Overall, however, the story, though rather camp, is both entertaining and suspenseful. The dialogue is crisp and funny, the first-person narrative is clever (as well as informative about owls), and the theme is well developed. A good choice to introduce readers to fantasy. Category: Older Readers. 1993, Houghton, $13.95. Gr. 5-9.

Kirkus (Kirkus Reviews, 1993)
Owl, 14, is charmingly offbeat; she hangs out at night in a tree near the home of her one love--science teacher Mr. Lindstrom. What makes her nocturnal vigils relatively easy is that she's a "wereowl" whose nightly transformation ruffles her feathers no more than does her diet of rodents. Wereowls run in the family, so Owl is comfortable with her identity, though the efforts demanded by her one-sided love are wearing her a bit ragged. When she observes a boy lurking near Mr. Lindstrom's home, the stage is set for shedding the schoolgirl crush for a more transcendent romance. Owl's perspective ia no birdbrained view; readers are soon solidly immersed in her wild, wise, and witty ways. Lofty phrasing, wry self-awareness, and passionate musings frame and fill a delightful first-person narration. Owl's quaint parents play several scenes for humor and have foibles enough to complete Owl's typical teenage alienation. The tidying up at the end is a little overneat and abbreviated; otherwise, an unusually strong and original first novel. 1993, Houghton Mifflin, $13.95. Starred Review. © 1993 Kirkus Reviews/VNU eMedia, Inc. All rights reserved.

Shawn Kerbein (Kutztown University Book Review, Spring 2005)
Owl Tycho is a were-owl. She attends high school during the day, and turns into an owl at night. Life gets interesting when she falls in love with her science teacher. One night, she discovers that there is a young boy hiding in the woods near her teacher’s house. Her attempts to help the boy survive in the woods, and solve the mystery of who he is, eventually shift the way she feels for her teacher. This book is kind of quirky-strange. It isn’t a bad book, but the writing does not make it a great book either. Interesting story – who ever heard of a were-owl – but some of the premises made and conclusions drawn are definitely not normal. Which is, I guess, the point! I wouldn’t run to put it on my shelves, but I wouldn’t hesitate to put it there if I got it for free. Category: Fantasy. 1993, Houghton Mifflin, $6.99. Ages 12 to 15.

Publishers Weekly (Publishers Weekly)
I am Owl. It is my name as well as my nature,'' announces the droll heroine of this highly original first novel. By night Owl, a shapeshifter, assumes her owl form, but by day she is an ``ordinary girl (more or less)'' who goes to high school. An everyday affliction overtakes her, however: she is in love with her science teacher, Mr. Lindstrom. Kindl's first-person narration shifts expertly back and forth between the perspective of a bird and that of an adolescent misfit making the first attempts at human friendship. The reader takes flight with Owl as she hunts for mice and rabbits, moons around outside Mr. Lindstrom's window and savors the life of a free owl. Owl's love for Mr. Lindstrom is, of course, ill-fated but, in an ironic and superbly imagined twist, Owl is destined for a truly happy ending. Kindl's prose is remarkably even in its wit, one of many virtues in this tautly plotted and touching novel. Ages 10-14. (Oct.)

Deborah Stevenson (The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, October 1993 (Vol. 47, No. 2))
The title, believe it or not, is self-explanatory. Our protagonist, Owl, has a terrible crush on her science teacher; it's a particular problem for her because she's a wereowl-attending school during the day and transforming at will to hunt prey at night-so that her seemingly adolescent longing for Mr. Lindstrom is actually the foundation of the owl's mating-bond for life. Owl is fortunate in her family, town eccentrics cozily familiar with the avian tendency in their genes ("There are birds of prey in my family going back hundreds of years, one every two or three generations"), who enjoy the juicy rabbits she sometimes brings back for their dinner and are shocked that Owl's love might not be returned, or even legal. Owl gradually falls into a comradeship with Dawn, a chatty, sunny schoolmate to whom she turns for help when her nightly vigils at Mr. Lindstrom's house reveal an unstable boy hiding in the backyard. Owl thinks the boy, whom she names Houle, is a wereowl like her, and she determines to keep him warm and safe in Dawn's garage. Houle proves to be Mr. Lindstrom's son, considered disturbed because of his natural wereowl tendency to eat rodents raw, and Owl's crush on the father turns out to be a foreshadowing of her enduring owl bond with the son, now liberated by the knowledge of his true barn-owl self. Owl's narration is austere and disdainful; her matter-of-factness about predation, unfamiliarity with average human ways, and anxiety about her inner turmoil are extremely funny (she nearly makes a dreadful faux pas by eating, rather than petting, Dawn's proffered hamster on her first visit to her friend's house). Her owl-world of night and flight is also harsh, beautiful, and mystical. Fantasies so often carry the weight of their own making, forcing readers to acknowledge brilliant architecture rather than taking them to another world. In Owl in Love, the fantasy world is depicted so that the reader experiences what the narrator does; Kindl's fiction creates a convincing impression of an existence we would otherwise never know. It's good to see "what if" taken to the extreme while still being treated with respect. The author, a superb writer, combines the diverse strands well; even the initially confusing narrative shifts to Houle's anguished point of view become clear. Owl struggles with conflicting needs as owl and human, child and adult, while asking questions ("How does one detect malice behind a smooth, smiling, pink face?") not unique to wereowls and familiar to any reader trying to negotiate the complex human world. Her relationship with loyal, smarter-than-she-seems Dawn is quite touching, as Dawn clearly understands more about Owl than Owl realizes and meets her more than halfway in a friendship Owl is only beginning to understand. So for Halloween, try a fantasy rich and strange, haunting and humorous, with the same solid roots in human dynamics that make The Changeover so plausible. Light up the jack o' lanterns at twilight, watch the night birds swoop, and enjoy Owl in Love out loud with the local thirteen-year-olds. R*--Highly recommended as a book of special distinction. Reviewed from galleys (c) Copyright 1993, The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois. 1993, Houghton, [208p], $13.95. Grades 7-12.


Teacher-student relationships--Fiction.
LanguageCall NumberLCCNDewey DecimalISBN/ISSN
English (eng) PZ7.K5665 Ow 1993
92026952 [Fic]
0395661625 : $13.95
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