About this book
An Owl at Sea
Susan Vande Griek • Ian Wallace
The extraordinary, true story of an owl stranded on the deck of an oil rig one hundred miles from shore, and the Good Samaritans who shepherded it home.
This is the true story of a Short-eared Owl that plummeted onto the deck of an oil rig in the North Sea, one hundred miles from shore. Weak and tired, it huddled on the deck until riggers provided it with a makeshift shelter and fresh meat to eat. When a helicopter arrived to transport some of the workers back home, they took the owl with them, handing it over to the Scottish SPCA. A few weeks later the owl was strong enough to be released into the countryside.
Susan Vande Griek’s gentle prose poem describes this unusual encounter with a creature from the wild with curiosity and wonder. Ian Wallace’s stunning watercolors show gorgeous seascapes, the subtle beauty of the owl, and the oil rig and its workers, creating compelling visual contrasts.
An author’s note includes information about the Short-eared Owl, a bird found in the Americas, Europe and Asia, whose numbers may be in decline due to loss of habitat.
Key Text Features
Correlates to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts:
Retell stories, including key details, and demonstrate understanding of their central message or lesson.
Identify words and phrases in stories or poems that suggest feelings or appeal to the senses.
Explain major differences between books that tell stories and books that give information, drawing on a wide reading of a range of text types.
Describe how characters in a story respond to major events and challenges.
Describe how words and phrases (e.g., regular beats, alliteration, rhymes, repeated lines) supply rhythm and meaning in a story, poem, or song.
Use information gained from the illustrations and words in a print or digital text to demonstrate understanding of its characters, setting, or plot.
About the Creators
Susan Vande Griek
Susan Vande Griek is the author of a number of highly acclaimed children’s books. Her picture book Loon, illustrated by Karen Reczuch, was named a USBBY Outstanding International Book and won the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Award, the Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children’s Non-Fiction and the Children’s Literature Roundtables of Canada Information Book Award. More recently, she has written Go Home Bay, illustrated by Pascal Milelli, a glimpse into the life of the artist Tom Thomson, and An Owl at Sea, illustrated by Ian Wallace. A longtime resident of the Maritimes, Susan now lives in Kingston, Ontario.
Ian Wallace is one of Canada’s best-known children’s book creators. He has published many classics, including Boy of the Deeps and Chin Chiang and the Dragon’s Dance. His illustrations for Canadian Railroad Trilogy and Just So Stories have each received three starred reviews. His most recent book is The Curiosity Cabinet. Ian has won the Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Award, the Mr. Christie’s Book Award and the Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Award, among others. He has been nominated for the Hans Christian Andersen Award, the Governor General’s Award and the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award. Ian lives in Brookline, Massachusetts, with his wife, Deb.
Awards and Praise
Praise for author Susan Vande Griek and illustrator Ian Wallace for An Owl at Sea:
“A quietly engaging picture book.” — Booklist
“This home-away-home story takes flight with its poetic text and a few extraordinary seascape illustrations.” — Kirkus Reviews
“An Owl At Seais a great story to read about the determination of animals. … Perhaps it will inspire children to find ways to help out animals in their own community.” — CanLit for Little Canadians
Praise for author Susan Vande Griek and illustrator Pascal Milelli for Go Home Bay:
“With a strong sense of place, this moody, contemplative title coalesces into a story that will resonate with nature lovers and artists alike.” School Library Journal
“Go Home Bay is a lovely, gentle book that breathes art and poetry.” Quill & Quire
Praise for author Susan Vande Griek and illustrator Karen Reczuch for Loon:
Winner of the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Picture Book Award, the Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children’s Non-Fiction and the Children’s Literature Roundtables of Canada Information Book Award
A USBBY Outstanding International Book
“… a delightful celebration of nature … Highly Recommended.” CM Magazine
“This book … has a lyrical text and lush, full-color illustrations.” School Library Journal
Praise for The Curiosity Cabinet, written and illustrated by Ian Wallace
“This beautiful and unusual contribution to Canada’s 150th birthday is very highly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.” Midwest Book Review
Praise for The Slippers’ Keeper, written and illustrated by Ian Wallace
“This exquisitely illustrated picture book … introduces young readers to the concept of conservation and emphasizes that one person can make a difference.” School Library Journal
Praise for Canadian Railroad Trilogy, written and illustrated by Ian Wallace
“… a huge and unusual project, and Wallace has executed it with admirable care.” Publishers Weekly, starred review
“The atmospheric illustrations … capture not only the workers’ toil but also the splendor of the Canadian landscape and, obliquely, the price the displaced First Nations people paid for steam-train technology.” Kirkus, starred review