Cover image for Three little owls
Three little owls
Luzzati, Emanuele, 1921-2007.
Publication Information:
London : Tate Publishing, 2013.
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : illustrations ; 24 cm
Three irrepressible little owls mischievously journey around the world for a year between Christmas holidays.
General Note:
Translated from the Italian.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
J PIC BOOK Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
J PIC BOOK Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
J PIC BOOK Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
J PIC BOOK Juvenile Fiction Picture Books

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Three irrepressible little owls take us on their journey around the world, from one Christmas Day to the next--fishing, dancing, snoozing and not behaving. Blake's delightful drawings combine with fantastical rhyming text to create a story that begs to be read again and again. Three Little Owls was written by Italian artist Emanuele Luzzati and translated into English by John Yeoman.

Author Notes

Quentin Blake taught at the Royal College of Art and was head of its illustration department. His collaborations with writers such as Roald Dahl and Russell Hoban, as well as his own creations, mark him as one of the world's leading illustrators. Emanuele Luzzati was an Italian painter, set designer, illustrator, potter, and author. He was nominated for Academy Awards for two of his short films, La gazza ladra (The Thieving Magpie) and Pulcinella . John Yeoman was for many years the head of the English department at the French Lyc#65533;e in London. He has often collaborated with Quentin Blake.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

This lively picture book follows three little owls around the year, from Christmas to Christmas. They cavort atop a wardrobe, catch a speech-writing fish, and dance on rooftops before flying off to zigzag around the world. Feeling forlorn as he sits alone atop the wardrobe in the rain, the poor fish cheers up when he spies the three little owls returning with a huge basket containing a Christmas feast. Yes, the plot is absurd, but the rhythmic, rhyming verses keep the story humming along, while the droll, expressive ink-and-watercolor illustrations make it soar. The book is a collaborative effort. Blake was asked to illustrate the manuscript, which was found in the papers of Italian illustrator, stage designer, and animator Luzzati (1921-2007). Yeoman worked on the English version of the text. This book won't suit every child, but those who love nonsense verse and Blake's artwork will savor every absurd, joyful moment.--Phelan, Carolyn Copyright 2014 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

In 2009, following an exhibition of Blake's work at the Museo Luzzati in Genoa, Italy (which houses the work of the late Italian illustrator), Blake was asked to illustrate Luzzati's manuscript Filastrocca di Natale. The result, translated into English here by Blake's frequent collaborator Yeoman, is a blithe nonsense rhyme with just a hint of the Christmas setting suggested by Luzzati's original title. The story opens on Christmas Day with three owls standing atop a wardrobe; they lay eggs, don extravagant outfits, and hook an unusual fish in a barrel: "With green wings and glasses he hasn't the look/ Of something you'd normally find on a hook./ He's writing some speeches (although he can't speak)/ In languages ranging from Hindi to Greek." The story jumps forward through the year as the owls dance on rooftops, nap, and traverse the globe before returning to deliver an enormous feast in time for the following Christmas. The wide-eyed owls take on a goofy, Marx Brothers-esque comedic air in Blake's ever-energetic ink-and-watercolor illustrations-just right for the idiosyncratic hops and skips of Luzzati's story. Ages 3-up. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 2-Reminiscent of the work of Edward Lear, this nonsense poem, translated from the original Italian, is a silly and enjoyable read-aloud. It has a flowing rhythm and scans perfectly, and the repeated refrain, "With a bop and a bip and a bip and a bop/A wardrobe with three little owls on the top," is fun to read. The tale covers from one Christmas to another and tells of the escapades of three young birds with a penchant for adventure. They play dress up, go fishing in a barrel, travel the world (having breakfast in England and tea in China), and return with a wonderful surprise for everyone. Blake's whimsical pen and ink and watercolor pictures are filled with color and movement as the three silly birds perform their antics. It's a hoot.-Maryann H. Owen, Children's Literature Specialist, Mt. Pleasant, WI (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.