In an age when children's daily screentime is rising and technology rules our days, Devin Franklin's "Put on Your Owl Eyes" is a welcome distraction for parents. This 135-page interactive resource and workbook for children ages 8 to 13 by the director of programming at Flying Deer Nature Center in New Lebanon, New York (a MacKid sponsor), encourages children to get out and explore their surroundings and see them as they've never seen them before. The bonus ... it then gives them the steps to do so.
"Put on Your Owl Eyes" is full of anecdotes from Franklin and other Flying Deer staff about their encounters with wildlife in their natural surroundings and their love of nature, and gives young readers the tools to begin to connect with the outdoor world themselves. From finding their "Sit Spots" and putting on their "Owl Eyes" to searching for "Fox Spots" and learning to identify animal tracks and signs, this book holds a wealth of information and activities to keep kids busy outdoors for hours, something any parent can get behind in this modern age. Readers will also learn about mapping, tracking and journaling, and will be able to experiment with these new skills directly within the pages of their new book.
I spent a day and a half pouring through the pages of "Put on Your Owl Eyes" on a recent vacation in Maine, and as I sat in my lounge chair at the oceanside pool, I began to take in my surroundings with a new appreciation. I liked this book so much, I gifted it, along with a beginner field guide "Backpack Explorer: On the Nature Trail: What Will You Find?," both published by the Berkshire's own Storey Publishing, to my nephew for his seventh birthday yesterday. He is heading camping for the first time ever in August and I thought these made the perfect gift (along with a magnifying glass, compass, self-cranking flashlight [no batteries needed] and more) for him to bring along.
If you are looking for an activity to get those kiddos off the couch and outside this summer, I highly suggest picking them up a copy of these books — "Put on Your Owl Eyes," and "Backpack Explorer" or other age-appropriate Field Guide). It's a heck of a lot cheaper than video games and well worth every penny.
A LITTLE FUN FACT: Before heading to my destination in Rockport, Maine, I attended a wedding in Greene, and made a trip with my friend and fellow publisher Julie and her daughter, Emma, to Freeport — home to LLBean. While there we wandered into this amazing novelty store and gift shop, Mangy Moose, where we found silly and sweet cards, a constellation guide and camping inspired gifts for my nephew. And guess what we saw? A copy of "Put on Your Owl Eyes," sitting right on the shelves with a variety of other children's nature books. I only wish I had thought to take a photo.
I received a copy of "Put on Your Owl Eyes" for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.