Friday, June 16, 2017

Book Review: 'Owls: Our Most Charming Bird' by Matt Sewell

Owls: Our Most Charming Bird
By Matt Sewell

Review by David Wineberg

Unlike most nature books of animals. birds or insects, Matt Sewell’s Owls is not so much an encyclopedia as a loving catalog. Instead of sharp detailed photos, there is a full page watercolor painting of each owl. Instead of a map and dry description of the range, hints and habits of each bird, there is a brief appreciation of the character in the painting. This is different. This is obvious joy.

The paintings are reproduced several to a page at the end, with checkboxes for when you sight them. This also gives you chance to see how very different they all are, in size and style, shape and color, around the world. From a few inches to a couple of feet, from snow white to bloody red, from horned to roundheaded, from “glasses” to “X’d”, owls have an outsized range of bodies, as well as of habits and reputation.

This is not a book of science; it is a book of passion.

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of David Wineberg. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right. 

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