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Otto the Owl Who Loved Poetry

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An owl with an unusual passion learns to shine in this fresh, funny debut picture book introducing a poetry-loving owl whom kids will cheer for.   Otto loves poetry—Keats, Rossetti, Dickinson, even T. S. Eliot. He prefers reading to roosting and reciting to hunting. Ordinarily, this wouldn’t be a problem. But, you see, Otto is an owl. When the other owls begin to make fun of An owl with an unusual passion learns to shine in this fresh, funny debut picture book introducing a poetry-loving owl whom kids will cheer for.   Otto loves poetry—Keats, Rossetti, Dickinson, even T. S. Eliot. He prefers reading to roosting and reciting to hunting. Ordinarily, this wouldn’t be a problem. But, you see, Otto is an owl. When the other owls begin to make fun of Otto, he embarks on a difficult journey, finding along the way both his inner poet and a community that accepts him for who he is. Celebrating courage and the importance of sticking with your passion, and incorporating an engaging mix of original and famous poems, Vern Kousky has created an enchanting and inviting world—a forest filled with the sounds of poetry.


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An owl with an unusual passion learns to shine in this fresh, funny debut picture book introducing a poetry-loving owl whom kids will cheer for.   Otto loves poetry—Keats, Rossetti, Dickinson, even T. S. Eliot. He prefers reading to roosting and reciting to hunting. Ordinarily, this wouldn’t be a problem. But, you see, Otto is an owl. When the other owls begin to make fun of An owl with an unusual passion learns to shine in this fresh, funny debut picture book introducing a poetry-loving owl whom kids will cheer for.   Otto loves poetry—Keats, Rossetti, Dickinson, even T. S. Eliot. He prefers reading to roosting and reciting to hunting. Ordinarily, this wouldn’t be a problem. But, you see, Otto is an owl. When the other owls begin to make fun of Otto, he embarks on a difficult journey, finding along the way both his inner poet and a community that accepts him for who he is. Celebrating courage and the importance of sticking with your passion, and incorporating an engaging mix of original and famous poems, Vern Kousky has created an enchanting and inviting world—a forest filled with the sounds of poetry.

30 review for Otto the Owl Who Loved Poetry

  1. 5 out of 5

    Sara Grochowski

    "Otto now knows that poetry should be shared with more than just the moon and the stars. Poetry should be shared with everyone." This sweet picture book from Vern Kousky is a great little addition to any poetry unit. Not only does it introduce listeners and readers to a few great lines from some classic poets, including Dickinson, Eliot, Keats, and Rossetti, it portrays the joy that can be found in the experience of sharing poetry. I especially love how poetry brings two very different groups (mi "Otto now knows that poetry should be shared with more than just the moon and the stars. Poetry should be shared with everyone." This sweet picture book from Vern Kousky is a great little addition to any poetry unit. Not only does it introduce listeners and readers to a few great lines from some classic poets, including Dickinson, Eliot, Keats, and Rossetti, it portrays the joy that can be found in the experience of sharing poetry. I especially love how poetry brings two very different groups (mice and owls) together in a very special way.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Nhi Nguyễn

    I really enjoyed this beautifully illustrated book. But what brings the most value to the book is its message (or messages) that the author conveyed via the story he told, which I think could be of great use to young readers reading this book: - There's nothing wrong with being who you are and enjoying what you love or what your heart desires, as long as it hurts no one. Otto the owl, like many other owls, was supposed to hunt at night, and to make owl's sound, not to love or recite poetry. As hu I really enjoyed this beautifully illustrated book. But what brings the most value to the book is its message (or messages) that the author conveyed via the story he told, which I think could be of great use to young readers reading this book: - There's nothing wrong with being who you are and enjoying what you love or what your heart desires, as long as it hurts no one. Otto the owl, like many other owls, was supposed to hunt at night, and to make owl's sound, not to love or recite poetry. As human beings, we also face the same pressure from society to be/do the "supposed" things, or play the "supposed" roles that other people think that we should do. And in many cases, this expectation causes a conflict between what are told to do versus what we actually want to do ourselves. But following your heart (or your mind, whichever you use to decide ^^) is not a bad, or outrageous thing; it's the right thing to do, just as what Otto the owl did, despite what other owls thought. - When you go against the traditional norms to do the things you want to do, and receive bad rep/boo or are bullied because of that, because you take control of your life, then keep on doing what you love. Keep marching on and don't pay attention to what other people think or say about you. Have courage, and don't ever doubt yourself or lose your passion/love for the thing you set out to do just because of other people's words, even when you have to do the thing you love alone, with no one by your side. Like Otto the owl, who was teased by other owls, but still embraced his love for poetry, and recited his favorite poems every night, without caring who listened to them. - When people around you, who you think are your loved ones and should be there to support whatever you do, leave or disapprove of what you do, find your own audience. Like Otto the owl who found his own audience in the mice that listened to his poem recitals every night. Find your own new family, family of your choice, who appreciate what you do, and stay for who you are. Don't be afraid that you will end up alone; everyone has their own group of loved ones, big or small, that will support them unconditionally. - And finally, other owls who teased Otto the owl before slowly realized the talent and admired the passion that Otto had for poetry. So all is not lost, and people can change for the better. Have faith that they can. Keep doing what you love, and other things will fall into place sooner or later. That's all for today's lessons :D

  3. 4 out of 5

    Teresa Edmunds

    It can be a challenge to get young readers interested in poetry. This book is a clever way to make a transition from picture books to poetry books. Otto would rather make friends than hunt. He would rather read than roost. And he'd rather recite poetry than anything else. As Kousky tells Otto's story, he quotes parts of famous poems, as well as includes some of his own. In the end, the reader may feel like me and want to go find the poems to read them in their entirety.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Stacey

    Loved this book. A great introduction for a poetry unit.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Leah Paul

    This is my new favorite children's book.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jeimy

    Adorable tale about the power of poetry!

  7. 5 out of 5

    The Brothers

    Otto loves poetry and usually just recites it for himself but is overheard one night by other owlets who make fun of him. Luckily, the mice enjoy the poetry so he continues, citing some well know lines from some well known poets (Eliot, Dickinson). Illustrations are ok.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Tweller83

    Love the pictures of the owls. They are drawn so cute. I like the introduction to poetry too. Really well done.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Robin Raines-Bond

    I really enjoyed this fun introduction into poetry for children. I also enjoy the lesson on being accepting and tolerant of others. The illustrations are adorable as well.

  10. 4 out of 5

    April Thompson

    Oh, my beautiful hunk of cheese, you smell so sweet and good! Oh, my beautiful hunk of cheese, I’d marry you if I could!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    For older preschoolers and elementary aged children.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Breezi McClenahan

    I thought this book was a poetry book, but it's a narrative about an owl who loves poetry. There wasn't as much poetry as I thought, but it included a few nods to classic poems. The characters were not very interesting and lacked individuality. Lexile: AD630L ATOS: 4.7 Six and One Trait: Conventions

  13. 4 out of 5

    Steph

    I love the idea of using this book to introduce a poetry unit, but I wish the story was more fun. Still, it will be very useful to the teachers at my school and I will purchase it for my library. It has definite purpose.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Hilda

    I loved that Otto the owl used classic poems along with his own poetry. I also loved the beautiful illustrations! My gripe was that it was very short and I felt it dealt more with bullying than with poetry. Otto's owl friends made fun of him for liking poetry. My students loved the pictures as well and they really loved the poems. They were laughing out loud when Otto's friend mouse also practiced his/her own poem. Oh, my beautiful hunk of cheese, you smell so sweet and good! Oh, my beautiful h I loved that Otto the owl used classic poems along with his own poetry. I also loved the beautiful illustrations! My gripe was that it was very short and I felt it dealt more with bullying than with poetry. Otto's owl friends made fun of him for liking poetry. My students loved the pictures as well and they really loved the poems. They were laughing out loud when Otto's friend mouse also practiced his/her own poem. Oh, my beautiful hunk of cheese, you smell so sweet and good! Oh, my beautiful hung of cheese, I'd marry you if I could! *Side Note: I would have given this book a 3 star review BUT my students really liked it so I bumped it up to a 4.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Linda Lipko

    Otto is an owl who doesn't quite fit in with his owl mates. While they are using the moon for the light it shines on prey, Otto is gazing at the moon and is struck poetically by the beauty. A dreamer who looks to the stars, Otto is a romantic. He simply cannot help loving the sound of words that when the right one is used elicits wonderful feelings. Ostracized and alone, he wanders through the forest searching for someone to listen. Instead of grabbing the mice with his claws, he reads to them and Otto is an owl who doesn't quite fit in with his owl mates. While they are using the moon for the light it shines on prey, Otto is gazing at the moon and is struck poetically by the beauty. A dreamer who looks to the stars, Otto is a romantic. He simply cannot help loving the sound of words that when the right one is used elicits wonderful feelings. Ostracized and alone, he wanders through the forest searching for someone to listen. Instead of grabbing the mice with his claws, he reads to them and holds them with poetic words. Each night more and more mice come to listen. His owl heart is filled with joy when increasingly other animals are drawn to the poetry of Keats, Dickinson, and Elliot. This is a wonderful story with lovely illustrations.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Juliana Lee

    Otto is different. He’s misunderstood. The other owls don’t know why he would rather read or recite poetry than hunt or roost in the trees. They tease him. But the field mice appreciate his poetry. They encourage him to read aloud and make up his own poems. Otto is so delighted that he decides that poetry should be shared with everyone. Otto reads poems about the wind, the moon, the trees, and the evening. Soon Otto is reciting poetry to more than just the field mice, soon the owls begin to take Otto is different. He’s misunderstood. The other owls don’t know why he would rather read or recite poetry than hunt or roost in the trees. They tease him. But the field mice appreciate his poetry. They encourage him to read aloud and make up his own poems. Otto is so delighted that he decides that poetry should be shared with everyone. Otto reads poems about the wind, the moon, the trees, and the evening. Soon Otto is reciting poetry to more than just the field mice, soon the owls begin to take notice and appreciate Otto’s poetry too. http://julianaleewriter.com/books-ali...

  17. 5 out of 5

    Alice

    This summer we are having a poetry contest. I am trying to tell the kids that poems don't have to rhyme. I found a good defintion of what a poem is. "literary work in which special intensity is given to the expression of feelings and ideas by the use of distinctive style and rhythm; poems collectively or as a genre of literature." What I pointed out to the kids.. "Special intensity given to expression and feelings..and rhythm" We have gotten some really cool ones! Otto loves poetry. The other Owls This summer we are having a poetry contest. I am trying to tell the kids that poems don't have to rhyme. I found a good defintion of what a poem is. "literary work in which special intensity is given to the expression of feelings and ideas by the use of distinctive style and rhythm; poems collectively or as a genre of literature." What I pointed out to the kids.. "Special intensity given to expression and feelings..and rhythm" We have gotten some really cool ones! Otto loves poetry. The other Owls do not...Otto goes on an adventure to realize the poetry is cool!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    For anyone who wants to do different things than the "others", who is teased about it, too, this is a story that will encourage and support the "outliers". Otto loves poetry, hence the title, and recites it often enough that those in his owl group tease and walk away. He's lonely, but one night, a special thing happens, a group of mice applaud his poetry reading. You'll need to read the rest of the book to discover how much this owl loves poetry, and the changes that are made. The book reminds m For anyone who wants to do different things than the "others", who is teased about it, too, this is a story that will encourage and support the "outliers". Otto loves poetry, hence the title, and recites it often enough that those in his owl group tease and walk away. He's lonely, but one night, a special thing happens, a group of mice applaud his poetry reading. You'll need to read the rest of the book to discover how much this owl loves poetry, and the changes that are made. The book reminds me of Frederick by Leo Lionni very much.

  19. 4 out of 5

    momma.hailey

    Brutal. The attempt to introduce the audience to poetry is diminished by the awkward story line and phrasing. It was painful to read aloud. UPDATE: I think my initial review was a bit harsh and didn't adequately voice my critique. After reading it my 10 year old daughter said "The poetry was nice", and I agreed. We collectively didn't connect to the story line, especially the owl being teased. My 5 year old asked what it meant. We did love the mice in the end asking for more poetry. I noticed the Brutal. The attempt to introduce the audience to poetry is diminished by the awkward story line and phrasing. It was painful to read aloud. UPDATE: I think my initial review was a bit harsh and didn't adequately voice my critique. After reading it my 10 year old daughter said "The poetry was nice", and I agreed. We collectively didn't connect to the story line, especially the owl being teased. My 5 year old asked what it meant. We did love the mice in the end asking for more poetry. I noticed the author has another children's poetry book and I look forward to reading it.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    Perhaps a bit obvious in its message -- poetry is for everyone to enjoy! -- but still a pleasurable read. Otto recites bits of poetry and though his owl friends make fun of him, he recites poetry to the moon and finds an audience of mice with whom to share his passion. His owl friends finally take the time to listen carefully and discover that they too enjoy poetry. Perfect to use as a poetry unit opener with students in grades 1 - 3. I plan to use this in April for poetry month.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Miss Pippi the Librarian

    Poetry is sometimes viewed as silly or boring or unwanted. But poetry is beautiful. It's something special in how language and words are woven together. Otto shared poetry with no one, but he eventually shared it with everyone! I loved that Kousky used snippets of memorable pieces of poetry. He shares the title and the author in the back of the book. Thank you! Reviewed from a library copy.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Sandra Guerfi

    Otto is unlike the other owls. He loves poetry in nature and words. Although he is different he is not alone in this fascination. His ode to the moon soon shows him that there are always those who can appreciate what you feel and you are not alone. Beautifully done and a great book to introduce poetry to a young child's life.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Kim

    Otto spends his nights reading and reciting poetry.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sylva

    My seven year old ignored the beginning of me reading the book, and THEN began to grin and turn the pages as the book continued. Very cute book and I'm going to go find the whole poems to read together now.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jill

    I thought this was a beautiful and unique take on introducing children to poetry. Otto is endearing in his love for poetry and his recitations are so beautiful, he eventually wins over his fellow forest creatures with his love of poetry. Soon the forest is a-hoot with poetry.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Carrie Guipe

    I didn't like this book, nor did my two year old. That's ok since it's meant for an older audience. Not rating it until I see the reaction from said older audience. But I couldn't geek out on this book like I think I am supposed to.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Lori Gravley

    Of course, Otto's poems sound suspiciously like Eliot, Frost, Dickenson, and others, but the book is a sweet story about finding your voice and sharing it. May all poets experience the success of Otto.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Edward Sullivan

    An owl with a passion for verse seeks a receptive audience who will share his enthusiasm.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Donalyn

    The message is a little heavy-handed, but Otto is cute and the book introduces kids to some classic poets and poems.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Brindi Michele

    really liked the illustrations

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