This first book from Irish illustrator Chris Haughton has already gathered much attention, most notably a gold medal at the Association of Illustrators Awards 2010. It is both striking in style and brilliantly executed. Haughton takes a very simple story of baby owl who has fallen out of the nest and injects pace and humour without ever clouding the narrative or overcomplicating the spreads.
When baby falls from mammy owl’s nest a helpful squirrel attempts to reunite the pair. The initial fall, rather like the first domino in a line, kick-starts the story, which rolls through an exquisite colour palette rich in purple, orange, green and blue. The colour choices are not always conventional, a green sky and a purple forest floor, but they are always effective and never jar. Often the background features other characters and this playful flourish makes rereading an equally rich experience.
Simple text, which if often repeated, flows well and varies in tone and tempo just enough to remain engaging. The only slightly off note for this reader was the choice of typeface, but it is a tiny flaw in an otherwise brilliantly conceived and expertly executed picturebook.