Thursday, April 07, 2016

Farley Mowat #atozchallenge

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My son and I recently read Owls in the Family by Farley Mowat, for a book report he had to do for school. I shall refrain from my diatribe on book reports and their uselessness for the sake of brevity. The assignment was to find a chapter book that we would read aloud together, and then he had a form to fill out, and he was to share his favorite lines from the main character in a dramatic voice. I don't know how well he did with the dramatic voice, but when I asked him for his favorite thing the main character had said, he knew exactly what he wanted to say, so I suppose that was good.

Anyhoo, Owls in the Family is a wonderful book about a boy in Saskatchewan who brings home and raises an orphaned great horned owl, as well as another owl he rescues from an unfortunate situation. Not only did we learn a lot about owls, but their antics, as well as the antics of Billy and his friends, kept us laughing through the entire book. It's such a great story! It was only 89 pages long, with 11 chapters. We were able to break it into short enough readings that it was easy for him to narrate, and I thoroughly enjoyed hearing his connections to the story as we read it.

Farley Mowat was born in 1921, and lived many places throughout Canada. His father was a librarian, and it seems they moved several times for his jobs. He was very interested in birds, and even wrote articles on birds for the local newspaper while he lived in Saskatchewan as a teenager. He wrote books about Canada's far north, mostly, but he did write a biography of Dian Fossey, a woman who worked with mountain gorillas in Africa. He was an environmentalist and very concerned with the destruction the human race seems determined to wreak upon nature.

I tried to look up information on Farley Mowat to share, and bless him, he didn't/doesn't have a website. He died in 2014 at the age of 92 (thank you, Wikipedia), so I suppose I'm not really surprised by that. He served in World War II, to put his timeline into perspective a bit. Not too many of those veterans are still with us. He did write an autobiography of his early years, Born Naked: The Early Adventures of the Author of Never Cry Wolf, and there appear to be two or three other autobiographical books in his repertoire, as well.

Somewhere, I have a copy of his book, Never Cry Wolf : Amazing True Story of Life Among Arctic Wolves, which I picked up at a used book store at some point. I haven't read it, but after reading Owls in the Family, I'm going to dig it out. I'd also like to get The Dog Who Wouldn't Be to read with my son, as it sounds like it details the life of Mowat's dog, Mutt, whom we met in Owls. And, after reading the description of The Boat Who Wouldn't Float, I'm going to have to read that one, too.  (Seriously, go read the description. I bed you're going to want to read it.) I hope to read many more of his books! Most of them sound like books I'd enjoy reading. My library has a few, but naturally, not the ones I'd like most to read first. Ah, well. Have you read anything by him? What are your favorites?


  1. Wow! I had no idea that Farley Mowat was the author of Never Cry Wolf. Have you seen the Disney movie based on the book?

  2. I haven't! I saw that it was a movie while I was looking up information. Is it good?

  3. I remember liking it way back when I saw it in the 80s. There is one scene where the main character runs around in the buff (he's caught off guard by a herd of caribou) and one where he experiments with eating the wolves' diet - a bit unappetizing. But all in all, we enjoyed it.

  4. HAHAHA! That sounds hilarious. Maybe not for him, though. :-D I will have to see if I can find it on Netflix! Thanks!

  5. I'm not familiar with this author or his books, but as a bird and animal lover they sound like my kind of stories. Humor in a book is always good too.

    Enjoyed your post.

  6. Beverly, I do think you'd enjoy his books! I love nature and humor, too. He fits the bill. Have you ever read any Patrick McManus? He writes about outdoorsman type things, like hunting and fishing, and I laugh so hard I cry.

  7. I haven't read him either. Too many books. Too little time. Thanks for the names, though. We'll see.