Teaching Physical Science with Children’s Literature: Wow! Said the Owl

Wow! Said the Owl

There is no shortage of books about colors, but Tim Hopgood has written and illustrated a particularly satisfying story with Wow! Said the Owl.  One curious little owl takes a long nap at night (“instead of staying awake all night , as little owls are supposed to do”) so that she can stay awake and see the dawn.  Following is page after page of bright colors from the yellow of the sun to the green of the trees to the red of the butterflies and orange flowers. Young children will love the bright collage style illustrations, the simple predictable language, and the cycle of night-to-day-to-night.  Teachers will appreciate the opportunity to teach or reinforce color identification with the color wheel at the end of the book that encourages kids to “Look through the pages [of the book] and see if you can find them.”

Curriculum Connections

This book is best suited for the early elementary curriculum when students are learning to make basic observations of objects (K.1a) and the physical properties like color that can be used to describe them (K.4a). Young children will love playing a modified version of “I Spy” using this book for inspiration.  The teacher should model the game by telling children that she/he is going to close his/her eyes and pretend to be the baby owl who has never seen daylight before.  When the teacher opens his or her eyes, he should say “Wow! said the owl…… I see something [color].” and encourage the children to guess what he or she sees.  If children are having difficulty, additional physical properties can be introduced like shape and size to help children guess the object.  After the teacher has modeled the game several times, children can take turns being the baby owl. As a follow up activity, students can take a walk together outside and look for objects with particular colors.

Additional Resources

  • Caterpillar Circles and Colors -This printable can be used to test color knowledge.  By numbering the circles, teachers can then call out a color and a number and ask students to color the appropriate numbered circle.
  • Owl Coloring Sheet – This printable is an accurate representation of a barn owl and a good way to connect the lesson to a life science lesson as well.
  • Can You Guess the Color? - This song or poem is a wonderful way for young children to make associations between objects and colors.
  • Color Activities – This website includes numerous printables, games, and activities for teachers to use when teaching colors to young children.
  • A Rainbow of Color Activities – This website includes books, printables, songs, games, and lots of other activities for teachers to use when teaching colors to young children.

Book: Wow! Said the Owl
Author and Illustrator: Tim Hopgood
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 32
Grade Range: PreK
ISBN: 0374385181