Top Shelf must
have some sort of private information on me that they have
collected over the years. I have to find out how they
get it. I am a sucker for charming and sentimental
stories, particularly those involving animals.
Apparently, I am not the only one considering the
success of Good-Bye Chunky Rice, a graphic novel
about a little turtle and now this one Owly,
about a caring little owl.
Owly is a collection of Andy Runtonís two
mini-comics published as one single volume.
tells the story of a little owl named, appropriately
Owly lives in a hollowed out tree and dreams of having
friends. The first story presented in this graphic novel
is The Way Home.
Birds, worms and
other creatures seem to scatter at the presence of Owly
making it difficult to get to know others and make
friends. The situation changes when Owly finds a lost
worm looking for his parents after a storm.
While on this
search, the two develop a close relationship and Owly is
enjoying having a companion. Luckily, the two find
wormís parents. When they answer the door, they are
thrilled to see their son, but then they spot Owly and
the door slams shut.Worms and birds are sworn
enemies, a fact that Owly and worm have overcome. Will
wormís parents come to know Owly for the caring soul
that he is? Will worm and Owly be reunited so their new
friendship can continue to blossom?
Bittersweet Summer is the
second story presented. Owly, while planting in his
garden spots a hummingbird. He would like to get to know
this bird better and seeks to cultivate plants to draw
the bird to his garden. He is successful and finds
himself not only one hummingbird but two to share laughs
and conversations. But, winter is approaching and
hummingbirds fly south for the winter. Will they try to
stick out a cruel winter with Owly, risking their lives?
Or will they fly south for the winter and return in the
The strength of
Owly lies in Runtonís ability to convey so much
about trust, unconditional love, and friendship without
using a single word. The sentiment expressed in the book
is completely honest without being phony, sweet without
being saccharine and poignant without being depressing.
would have to have a hole in their chest where a heart
should be if they arenít touched by
artwork style in Owly is unpretentious and nicely
stylized black and white. Owly has big expressive eyes
that Runton infuses with an amazing amount of
expressiveness. The character designs of worm and those
of the hummingbirds are great as well. I also enjoyed
the fact that on a few pages, Runton chose only to use a
single panel. It gives the reader the opportunity to
really reflect on the images and emotions Runton is
sharing. The artwork is charming and pleasingly subtle.
Overall (Not an