Carolyn, my five-year-old, wept in the middle of “Owly 2: Just a Little Blue.” The Owly books use no words, just icons and facial expressions to tell some very complex stories. Carolyn likes stories about adventure and friendship, and she’s a visual learner. Once I helped her interpret the first few speech bubble icons, she was able to “read” the story to me quite easily. Bedtime is always a struggle for her, and I don’t think she was really prepared for the emotional intensity of the story. The story ends on a happy note, but the next day she was still distressed enough that she had to tell mommy about the sad parts.
There’s no death or betrayal, just a misunderstanding, but the long wordless sequence where Owly seems to give up his hopes communicates disappointment and sadness so clearly that I think my daughter was caught off-guard. The book is absolutely delightful, but you should know your child — the artwork really drives the emotion home.