Have a Hoot with WORD PLAY in “Little Hoot”

Title:  Little Hoot

Author: Amy Krouse Rosenthal

Illustrator:  Jen Corace

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Year:  2007

Word Count: 364

If you’re looking for a cute bedtime book with a twist, Little Hoot is perfect. This adorable story turns the tables on traditional bedtime books where children do anything and everything in their power to buy a few more minutes of awake time. In this story, Little Hoot is expected to be a night owl, when all he really wants to do is go to sleep early like all of his friends.

This book is a great study in fun word play — including puns and onomatopoeia– that will keep you chuckling.

It all starts on the second spread where the illustrations reveal a school classroom and a teacher giving a grammar lesson. The following words appear on the chalkboard: “Who, Whom, Whose.”

At one point in the book, Papa Owl tells Little Hoot, “If you want to grow up to be a wise owl, you must stay up late. And besides, I don’t give a hoot what time your friends go to bed. In this family, we go to bed late. Rules of the roost.”

Mama Owl tells Little Hoot that he has to stay up for one more hour.

“One more hour?” he (Little Hoot) boo-whoo’d.

When Little Hoot is finally told he can go to bed he responds with: “Woo-whooooo! Woo-whooooo! Bedtime!”

The book ends with Little Hoot’s parents putting him into bed.

So they tucked in his feathers.

Gave him a peck on the cheek.

And they owl lived happily ever after. . .

I love the way that author Amy Krouse Rosenthal incorporated so much owl-related word play into this story. This is what elevates her great concept to another level.  “Owl” definitely be more than happy to read Little Hoot to my own little night owl, especially on the nights he doesn’t want to go to bed!  And since I love writing with animal characters,  I’m excited to look for all the ways that I can make use of puns and onomatopoeia to take my own stories to the next level and keep readers amused.

7 Responses to “Have a Hoot with WORD PLAY in “Little Hoot””

  1. Damon Dean

    Even OWL itself is a word that inspires wordplay. Not to mention ‘hoot.’ The twist of ‘having’ to stay up is delightful, and the wordplay in this story just elevates the concept to even more fun. Great review Lindsay, thanks!

  2. Linda E.H.

    I’ve read so many books by Amy Krouse Rosenthal. How did I miss this one? The reversal of the bedtime issue is a great idea. I bet this book is awesome.


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