Owls in the Family and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
CDN$ 9.49
  • List Price: CDN$ 9.99
  • You Save: CDN$ 0.50 (5%)
FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25.
In Stock.
Ships from and sold by Amazon.ca.
Gift-wrap available.
Quantity:1
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Owls in the Family Paperback – Aug 4 2009


See all 22 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition
"Please retry"
Paperback
"Please retry"
CDN$ 9.49
CDN$ 4.83 CDN$ 1.90

2014 Books Gift Guide
Yes Please, the eagerly anticipated first book from Amy Poehler, the Golden Globe winning star of Parks and Recreation, is featured in our 2014 Books Gift Guide. More gift ideas

Frequently Bought Together

Owls in the Family + The Dog Who Wouldn't Be + Never Cry Wolf
Price For All Three: CDN$ 32.56


Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought



Product Details

  • Paperback: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Emblem Editions (Aug. 4 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0771064624
  • ISBN-13: 978-0771064623
  • Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 0.8 x 20.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 113 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #25,642 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Farley Mowat was born in Belleville, Ontario, in 1921, and grew up in Belleville, Trenton, Windsor, Saskatoon, Toronto, and Richmond Hill. He served in World War II from 1940 until 1945, entering the army as a private and emerging with the rank of captain. He began writing for his living in 1949 after spending two years in the Arctic. Since 1949 he has lived in or visited almost every part of Canada and many other lands, including the distant regions of Siberia. He remains an inveterate traveller with a passion for remote places and peoples. He has twenty-five books to his name, which have been published in translations in over twenty languages in more than sixty countries. They include such internationally known works as People of the Deer, The Dog Who Wouldn’t Be, Never Cry Wolf, Westviking, The Boat Who Wouldn’t Float, Sibir, A Whale for the Killing, The Snow Walker, And No Birds Sang, and Virunga: The Passion of Dian Fossey. His short stories and articles have appeared in The Saturday Evening Post, Maclean’s, Atlantic Monthly and other magazines.


From the eBook edition.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Chapter 1

One May morning my friend Bruce and I went for a hike on the prairie.

Spring was late that year in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Snowdrifts still clung along the steep banks of the river in the shelter of the cottonwood trees. The river was icy with thaw water and, as we crossed over the Railroad Bridge, we could feel a cold breath rising from it. But we felt another breath, a gentle one, blowing across the distant wheat fields and smelling like warm sun shining on soft mud. It was the spring wind, and the smell of it made us walk faster. We were in a hurry to get out of the city and into the real prairie, where you can climb a fence post and see for about a million miles – that’s how flat the prairie is.

The great thing about Saskatoon was the way it ended sharp all around its edge. There were no outskirts to Saskatoon. When you stepped off the end of the Railroad Bridge you stepped right onto the prairie and there you were – free as the gophers.

Gophers were the commonest thing on the prairie. The little mounds of yellow dirt around their burrows were so thick, sometimes, it looked as if the fields had yellow measles.

But this day Bruce and I weren’t interested in gophers. We were looking for an owl’s-nest. We had decided that we wanted some pet owls, and if you want pet owls you have to find a nest and get the young ones out of it.

We headed for the nearest of the clumps of cottonwood trees that dot the prairies, and which are called “bluffs” out in Saskatchewan. The ground was spongy under our sneakers, and it squooshed when we hit a wet place. A big jack rabbit bounced up right under my feet, and scared me so much I jumped almost as high as he did. And as we came nearer the bluff, two crows came zooming out of it and swooped down on us, cawing their heads off.

Bluffs are funny places in the spring. The cottonwood trees shed a kind of white fluffy stuff that looks like snow. Sometimes it’s so thick it comes right over the top of your sneakers and you get a queer feeling that you really are walking through snow, even though the sun on your back is making you sweat right through your shirt.

We walked through this bluff, scuffing our feet in the cottonwood snow and stirring it up in clouds. We kept looking up; and after a while, sure enough, we saw a big mess of twigs high up in a poplar.

“All right,” Bruce said to the two crows which were swooping and hollering at us. “If you want me to snitch your eggs – I will!”

With that he handed me his haversack and began to shinny up the tree.

It was an easy climb because cottonwood poplars always have lots of branches. When he got to the nest and looked into it I yelled up at him: “Any eggs?” Bruce grinned but he wouldn’t answer. I could see him doing something with his free hand – the one he wasn’t holding on with – and I knew there were eggs there all right. I watched, and sure enough he was popping them into his mouth so he could carry them down out of the tree.

We always carried eggs down out of trees that way. The only thing was, crows’ eggs are pretty big, and if you have to stuff three or four of them into your mouth it nearly chokes you.

Bruce started to climb down. When he got about ten feet from the ground he stepped on a rotten branch. Poplar branches are always rotten near the ground, and you have to watch out for them. I guess Bruce forgot. Anyway, the branch broke and he slid the rest of the way and lit on his seat with a good hard bump.

All the eggs had broken, and Bruce was spitting out shells and eggs all over the cottonwood snow. I got laughing so hard I couldn’t even talk. When Bruce got most of the eggs spat out he came for me and tackled me, and we had a fight. It didn’t last long, because it was too hot to really fight, so Bruce ate a sardine sandwich to get the taste of crows’ eggs out of his mouth and then we started across the prairie again to search through other bluffs until we found an owl’s-nest.

I guess we searched about a hundred bluffs that morning, but we never saw an owl. We were getting hungry by then, so we made a sort of nest for ourselves on the ground, out of poplar snow and branches. We curled up in it and opened our haversacks.

Bruce had sandwiches and a lemon in his. He was the only boy I ever knew who liked to eat lemons. He said they were better than oranges, any day of the week.

I had a hard-boiled egg and just for fun I reached over and cracked the shell on Bruce’s head. He yelled, and we had another fight, and rolled all over his sardine sandwiches.

We were just finishing our lunch when a wood gopher came snuffling along through the cottonwood snow. Wood gophers are gray and have big bushy tails. This one came right up to us and, when I held a crust out to him, he shuffled up and took it out of my hand.

“Got no sense,” said Bruce. “You might have been a coyote, and then where’d he be at?”

“Heck,” I said. “He’s got more sense than you. Do I look like a coyote?”

The gopher didn’t say anything. He just took the crust and scuttled away to his hole somewhere. We picked up our haversacks. The sun was as bright as fireworks and the sky was so clear you could look right through it – like looking through a blue window. We started to walk.

All of a sudden Bruce stopped so fast that I bumped into him.

“Lookee!” he said, and pointed to a bluff about half a mile away. There must have been a million crows around it. It looked as if the bluff was on fire and filling the sky with black smoke – that’s how many crows there were.

When you see a bunch of crows all yelling their heads off at something, you can almost bet it’s an owl they’re after. Crows and owls hate each other, and when a crow spots an owl, he’ll call every other crow for miles and they all join in and mob the owl.

We headed for that bluff at a run. The crows saw us coming but they were too excited to pay much attention. We were nearly deaf with their racket by the time we reached the edge of the trees. I was ahead of Bruce when I saw something big and slow go drifting out of one poplar into another. It was a great horned owl, the biggest kind of owl there is, and as soon as it flew, the whole lot of crows came swooping down on it, cawing like fury. I noticed they were careful not to get too close.

Bruce and I started to hunt for the nest. After a while, the owl got more worried about us than about the crows and away he went. He flew low over the fields, almost touching the ground. That way the crows couldn’t dive on him. If they tried it they would shoot past him and crash into the dirt.

There wasn’t any owl’s-nest in that bluff after all, but we didn’t worry. We knew the nest would have to be in some bluff not too far away. All we had to do was look.

We looked in different bluffs all afternoon. We found seven crows’-nests, a red-tailed hawk’s-nest, and three magpies’-nests. I tore the seat out of my trousers climbing to the hawk’s-nest, and we both got Russian thistles in our sneakers, so we had sore feet. It got hotter and hotter, and we were so thirsty I could have eaten a lemon myself, except that Bruce didn’t have any more.

It was past suppertime when we started back toward the railroad. By then we were pretending we were a couple of Arabs lost in the desert. Our camels had died of thirst, and we were going to die too unless we found some water pretty soon.

“Listen,” Bruce said. “There’s an old well at Haultain Corner. If we cut over past Barney’s Slough to the section road, we can get a drink.”

“Too late,” I told him. “Good-by, old pal, old Sheik. I am doomed. Go on and leave me lay.”

“Oh, nuts,” said Bruce. “I’m thirsty. C’mon, let’s go.”

So we cut past Barney’s Slough and there were about a thousand mallard ducks on it. They all jumped into the air as we went by and their wings made a sound like a freight train going over a bridge.

“Wish I had my dad’s gun!” said Bruce.

But I was wondering why on the prairies they call lakes and ponds “sloughs.” I still don’t know why. But that’s what they’re called in Saskatoon.
 

There was one big bluff between us and Haultain Corner. It was too far to go around it, so we walked right through it. Anyway, it was cooler in among the trees. When we were about halfway through I spotted a crow’s-nest in a big old cottonwood.

“Bet it’s empty,” I said to Bruce. But the truth was that I was just too hot and tired to climb any more trees. Bruce felt the same way, and we walked past. But I took one last look up at it, and there, sticking over the edge of the nest, was the biggest bunch of tail feathers you ever saw. My heart jumped right into my throat and I grabbed Bruce by the shirt and pointed up.

It was a great horned owl all right. We kept as quiet as we could, so as not to scare her, and then we looked around the bottom of the tree. There were bits of rabbits and gophers, and lots of owl pellets. When owls catch something, they eat the whole thing–bones and fur and all. Then, after a while, they burp and spit out a ball of hair and bones. That’s an owl pellet.

“By Gang! We found it!” Bruce whispered.

I found it,” I said.

“Okay,” said Bruce. “You found it, then. So how about you climbing up and seeing how many young ones are in it?”

“Nothing doing, old pal,” I replied. “I found the nest. So if you want one of the owlets, you climb up and have a look.”

Neither of us was keen to climb that tree. The old owl was sticking close to her nest, and you can’t always tell how fierce an owl is going to be. They can be pretty fierce sometimes.

“Say,” said Bruce after a while, “why don’t we just leave her be for now? Might scare her into leaving the nest for good if we climbed up. What say we get Mr. Miller, and come back tomorrow?”

Mr. Miller was one of our teachers. Bruce and I liked him because he liked the prairie too. He was a great one for taking pictures of birds and things. We knew he would be crazy to get some pictures of the owl – and Mr. Miller never minded climbing trees.

“Sure,” I said. “Good idea.”

We went off to Haultain Corner and got a drink of water that tasted like old nails, out of the broken pump. Then we walked on home. That night I told Dad about the owl’s-nest, and he looked at Mother, and all he said was:

“Oh NO! Not owls too.”


From the Paperback edition.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Excerpt
Search inside this book:

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most helpful customer reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 13 1998
Format: Paperback
This warm, poignant, funny book is a wonderful demonstration of how even ONE person can help wildlife in trouble. Even better to think that little boy grew up to be a world-class advocate of animal and eskimo rights. Farley Mowat is a treasure. Thank heaven the grade school teacher at a school in Temple, Texas assigned Owls as a class project. Thank heaven the only book left in the library was "Owls in the Family." Farley Mowat has brought great laughter and poignancy to my family and is spoken of as a friend. We always say -- "Want to read a wonderful book (author) read "Owls in the Family" (Farley Mowat) !!
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
By A Customer on Oct. 21 2002
Format: School & Library Binding
Owls In The Family [5 out of 5 stars] By two kid?s 9 and 8. This is a very good book. It?s about a kid named Bruce and his two owls. One of the owls name is Wol. Wol gets in to a lot of mischief. First he follows Bruce to school. And second, he discovers that owls weren?t meant to swim. Bruce finds another owl later in the book and he names him Weeps. This is a very funny book. They found owl after a storm called a Chinook. Bruce found him under some leaves and twigs. They found Weeps in an oil can. Two boys were throwing rocks at Weeps. Bruce came over and said what do you want for him. Wol brought home a skunk.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
Format: Paperback
A young boy lives in a rural district of the Canadian prairies. The book moves through a period of his childhood, when he is about 10 to 12 years old. Each chapter relates an important or memorable incident at this time in his life. The episodes written about are often humorous, and are sure to bring back memories for adults. Likewise, they are great starting points for discussion with your child(ren) as to 'how it used to be', but with a wonderful back-up from Mr. Mowat. For a child living on the prairies now days, this is a must to read, and to share with your parents!
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
By A Customer on Jan. 19 1999
Format: Paperback
If you're new to the writings of Farley Mowat, this book is a great place to start. You will love it. If you have kids, THEY will love it. Wol and Weeps, the two feathered protagonists, are two of the most lovable pets you'll ever read about in print. Wol especially steals the show when it comes to dealing with crows, dogs, skunks, and a really mean French teacher called Fifi.
Make no mistake, Owls in the Family is a family treasure that deserves to be read time and again. Pick it up without hesitation!
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
Format: Paperback
Every year I read this book to my 5th graders and
everyone in the class loves it. It is my favorite book to read to start the year. I even have kids who go on to read "The Dog Who Wouldn't Be." The book is written in 1st person and the kids get really excited about owls because not only is it a story of the authors adventures with two owls, but it tells a lot of facts about owls and the northern praries.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
Format: School & Library Binding
This book got me hooked on reading when I was little. It is an excellent tale about the exploits of Wol, an owl who has been adopted by a Canadian boy. Wol gets into all sorts of trouble, pickign on the neighborhood animals. He is so lovable though! Weeps is a smaller and shyer owl that also gets into some trouble. This is a no doubt classic that you will want to read over and over again!
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I read this when I was a preteen and got it recently for my private library. It's written to be understood by a younger audience who are fascinated by all the things animals do. There are even frequent spelling and grammatical errors to emphasize the story being told from the main character's prespective, but there are lots of funny things for adults as well.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
Format: Paperback
This book is about a little boy from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan who finds two owls and keeps them as pets. But the problem is he already has many others pets which include crows, magpies, gophers, mice and a dog. Crazy things happen when his owls start terrorizing the neighborhood!
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.

Most recent customer reviews


Look for similar items by category


Feedback