Originally a Scottish fable written in 1440 by Richard Holland, The Book of the Howlat is re-imagining of one of the poetic gems of medieval Scotland.
It tells the moral story of being true to one’s own nature. Similar to the Ugly Duckling tale, this children’s book introduces the Howlat, a body-conscious young owl who decides he needs nature to change him.
To do so, he enlists the help of the peacock, and all the other birds he can muster in the animal kingdom. Nature’s decision might suit the Howlat but the other animals ensure his transformation is short-lived.
Kate Leiper’s beautiful detailed illustrations touch on both the humour and melancholy of this morality tale for children.
The Book of the Howlat, by James Robertson and illustrated by Kate Leiper, BC Books, £12.99.