Age Range: 5 to 8
My teacher read The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark to my class when I was at school and earlier in the year I read it to my daughter for the first time. We’ve read it several times since, we both really enjoy the story and my daughter finds Plop’s conversations and adventures amusing.
The Story: Plop is a baby barn owl who is afraid of the dark. He stays awake in the day and is too scared to go hunting at night with his parents. Over the course of the book he meets a variety of people who tell him what they like about the dark and by the time he meets Orion the cat at the end of the story he is ready to embrace darkness and enjoy it.
The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark is an easy to read chapter book. Plop meets a different person in each chapter and all have their own reasons for enjoying the darkness. A young girl tells him about Father Christmas, an artist tells him about other animals that are nocturnal, he joins a group of boy scouts around their campfire and he learns about constellations. Everybody gives different reasons as to why they like the dark including it being fun, necessary and fascinating.
Plop matures throughout the story, he is mistaken for a firework as he somersaults several times on his first attempt to leave the tree but by the final chapter he lands much more smoothly. The reader learns about what owls eat and my daughter has also learnt lots of new vocabulary including the word ‘nocturnal’.
As a parent I can now see the subtle tricks and strategies Plop’s parents use to help him become less afraid. On the night he meets the astronomer (towards the end of the book) they keep asking questions so he’ll stay awake longer in the dark. There are other sleeping / pretending to be asleep strategies and Mrs Barn Owl continuously encourages him to go and talk to others about the dark. This is a lovely story to help a child overcome a fear of darkness or to help them deal with other fears that they might have.
The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark educates as well as entertains and it’s short chapters make it an ideal read for a bedtime story. Beautiful pen and ink drawings of Plop, his family and the people he meets accompany the easy to read text. It was one of the first chapter books that I read as a beginner reader, it’s lovely to share a childhood favourite with my daughter.
Do you have a favourite childhood chapter book that you are reading with your child?
Author: Jill Tomlinson / Illustrator: Paul Howard
There is also a picture book version of The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark.