Monday, August 9, 2010

Owl Clock Giveaway Starts Today!

In celebration of that dear, old, gullible owl from Arnold Lobel's 1975 classic Owl at is giving away this delightful German wooden clock at Where the Best Books Are! The clock can be viewed by clicking lights then going to CSN's online clock store.

Enter now through Aug. 18, by becoming a follower of my blog (if you're already a follower, just let me know) or by sending me a comment. Share memories of Owl at Home, a storybook character you love or a fun product you spotted at (Sorry, only U.S. and Canadian residents are eligible to win.)

The Alexander Taron weight-bearing wall clock, which measures 8 inches tall by 6.75 inch wide, comes from the legendary Black Forest region, known for its hand-crafted mechanical clocks since 1640.

Resembling a Great Horned owl with tufts of feathers by its ears, the clock moves its eyes side-to-side every time a pendulum sways below its perch -- an ability that's sure to be the envy of real owls, who can't move their eyes within their sockets and instead must swivel their necks.

What drew me to this whimsical clock were its big observant eyes, set within finely painted circles of feathers. They reminded me of all the things that endear me to Owl from the early reader -- his wondrous, silly outlook, his openness to the world around him and his uncanny ability to make life more challenging for himself.

Owl is like a child who sees everything with new eyes -- who has no past associations or experiences to hold him back.

In the first chapter "The Guest," Owl hears pounding at his door and realizes it's the snow and wind. Being the kind-hearted fellow that he is, he welcomes them into his house to warm themselves. But instead of sitting nicely by the hearth, the snow and wind barge inside, put out his fire and turn his soup into ice.

Luckily, Owl can stand up for himself, and chases the storm out of his house, telling it to never return. Yet Owl never seems realize that snow and wind aren't living beings, and plunks down in his chair, exhausted but not much wiser.

Owl is a big, lovable goof and though you can't help giggle at his silly behavior, your heart goes out to him when he gets flustered.

In the chapter "Strange Bumps," Owl can't imagine what the bumps at the bottom of his bed can be, even though they're exactly where his feet are under a blanket. Every time Owl moves, they move, making him so scared that he races down the stairs to spend the night on his comfy chair. "Let them grow as big as they wish. I will sleep right here where I am safe."

Later in "Upstairs Downstairs," Owl becomes so attached to both levels of his house that he can't bear to be away from either one. He rushes back and forth from his upstairs to his downstairs, going faster and faster to try to be both places at once, until he finally settles on the tenth step because it's right in the middle of both floors.

No matter how silly Owl behaves, he never thinks anything of it and remains perfectly comfortable with who he is.

One of my favorite chapters is "Tear-Water Tea," in which Owl works himself into a tizzy, thinking of sad things, so that he can cry into a pot and make tea out of tears.

To cry, he thinks of things a tender-hearted young child might feel badly about: like pencils that are too short to use, or a spoon that's fallen behind the stove, never to be seen again.

It's hilarious that Owl puts himself through the ringer for a cup of salty tea, and that he remains in complete control of his emotions as he thinks of sad things. Once the pot is full, Owl switches off his tears like a faucet. "There. That does it," he says, now happy again. 

It's hard to put a finger on what goes on in Owl's head, and perhaps that why he's so charming. His reality is truly his own and he catches us by surprise, acting the opposite of what we expect.

At times Owl can be self-absorbed (perhaps because he lives such a solitary life) -- he thinks the wind, snow and moon all want to be his friends because they appear where he happens to be (at his house or outdoors). Yet, he doesn't come across as selfish or standoffish.

Other times he resembles the archetypal owl, wise and sensible -- he looks dapper in his robe, sipping pea soup by the hearth, and he knows just when to blow out his candle and go to bed. But then he does something so naive that you shake head at how silly he's being, which of course only endears you to him more.

There's a sweet vulnerability to Owl and we see this most in "Owl and the Moon." While sitting on a rock at the shore, Owl decides that the moon is his good friend because it seems to be looking his way. Later he reasons that the moon is following him home because he sees it over his shoulder as he walks away.

The more Owl sees the moon, the more Owl wants to invite it into his house. However, Owl frets that his front door is too narrow and that he has nothing to feed it, and becomes very sad. But just as he's at his lowest, silver light fills his bedroom and Owl realizes that the moon has found a way to be with him after all.

I can't help but think how lovely it would be for a child to look into his or her room, just like Owl does at the end of this reader, and discover that something they hold dear has suddenly, impossibly appeared -- in this case that silly Owl from Owl at Home, in the form of clock, looking as wide-eyed as ever.

Best of luck to all of you in the giveaway and great thanks to for offering such a magical product to share! For more about Lobel, Owl at Home and other great books by Lobel, visit


  1. What a very interesting clock. It's sort of mesmerizing, isn't it? I follow your blog in Google reader.


  2. I love this clock! I'm a new follower-this is my first time checking out your blog and I love it. You have a wealth information here! I'll add you to my blog roll!

  3. My daughter just read "Owls in the family." I bet she'd love this book too.

  4. Oh my son is 3 and wants to go to school so bad to have friend, currently looking for the right location or play group for a couple of hours. It such a beautiful clock from CSN Store and I'm following your blog.

  5. I've always been a fan of owls. They are fascinating creatures. We'll have to read "Owl at Home" by Lobel. My kids love "Owl Babies" and my kindergarten-aged daughter learned a lot about owls from the book, "White Owl, Barn Owl." (already a follower)

  6. This is such a great clock! I would love to be the winner!

    nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

  7. I'm a new follower to your blog. Great owl clock!