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THE STORY OF LITTLE OWL by Constance Boyle (Borrows: $3.95; 32 pp., illustrated; ages 3-8).

September 29, 1985|KRISTIANA GREGORY

Youngsters usually feel right at home with anthropomorphic stories, so they won't question the owls here who go to Cub Scouts and rummage sales.

This quiet story is reminiscent of Else Holmelund Minarik's classic "Little Bear" (Harper & Row) books. Little Owl, like Little Bear, is a timid explorer in his everyday world of birthdays, friends, play and mystery, always under the protection of his watchful and loving family.

When Little Owl loses his special teddy, he is heartbroken, an emotion children will quickly understand. His search takes forever , is wrought with disappointment and frustration, but ends happily. The fear of losing something or someone cherished is felt by adults as well.

Its 4x5 size with full-color illustrations staggered on each page, are perfect for intimate lap readings so loved by toddlers. The continuous popularity of Beatrix Potter's "The Tale of Peter Rabbit" and Maurice Sendak's "The Nutshell Library" confirm that kids love small-size books. This one is lilting enough to read aloud umpteen times, as will no doubt be requested, and it evokes the tenderness of early youth, even if these creatures are owls.

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