Hoot Owl: Unbelievably adorable picture book illustrated by Jean Jullien
Jean Jullien is one of the incredibly talented illustrators we feature at Kuvva. You can’t miss his style: an overall naivety of thick brush outlines and bold colours in juxtaposition with a witty humour. There is always a story, usually a humourous one, in Jean’s creation that enriches the art remarkably. This is why I’ve secretly wanted to see a narrative illustrated by Jean, and now it has come true!
“It’s not about the audience, it’s about what you tell them and how you do it.” – Jean Jullien
The moment I saw “Hoot Owl”, my eyes were wide and I jumped into the air and tapped my feet together in my mind. Jean’s style works amazingly well with the dark humour of the story. Written by the great storyteller Sean Taylor, the picture book is about the titular Hoot Owl who was very proud of his disguise skill and decided to hunt down some prey by wearing camouflage. Some may wince at this point at the implied inevitable harsh side of nature. Nevertheless, the books that can handle these kind of truth are the most brilliant out there, such as “There was an old lady who swallowed a fly” by Simms Taback and “This Is Not My Hat” by Jon Klassen. And in “Hoot Owl”‘s case, Jean has done the story beautifully. His striking signature brush work gave Hoot Owl an expressive and rather ridiculous figure, which most of us can relate at some point in our memory when we attempted to do something naughty.
The naivety of Jean’s art juggles superbly with the funny words by Sean and together they make “Hoot Owl” a very pleasing reading brimmed with hilarity. In the end, Hoot Owl isn’t as masterful as he believes and he didn’t end up eating anything alive, but the dry humour running through his deeds makes him one of the best memorable comedic characters from picture books out there for children.
You can get “Hoot Owl”, published by Walker Books, here!