Byron Barton has written many of my favorite titles for young children, and this book is no exception. The illustrations are bright and bold, and the story both straightforward and surprising. Tom is riding his bicycle to work. The reader/listener is introduced to Tom and to the different parts of Tom’s bike. As Tom bikes to work he describes some of the people and things he bikes past. Younger listeners will enjoy the pictures and trying to name the objects while older listeners might be able to guess what Tom’s job is even before he arrives.
He settles on a branch and turns his head all the way around. Where is his mother? When he doesn’t see her he begins to listen very carefully. The reader/listener is invited to listen along and together Night Owl and his reader/listener explore the sounds of the night. Some sounds are too short, some too long, some too high and some too low. Then the sky itself beings to make noises, and Night Owl flies bravely home through the raindrops. At home he listens again and before long he hears, “The nicest sound of all.”