Choose Your Own Adventure - Dragonlarks
Choose Your Own Adventure for Younger Readers — no. 36
Owl Tree (reissue)
El árbol de los búhos (Spanish)
Montgomery, R. A.
Utomo, Gabhor (Dragonlarks reissue)
September, 1986 (Original edition)
February 15, 2010 (Dragonlarks reissue)
0553154494 / 9780553154498
1933390808 / 9781933390802 (Dragonlarks reissue)
50 pages (Original edition)
47 pages (Dragonlarks reissue)
|Number of Endings:||
|User Summary:||A magical owl-inhabited tree in the woods leads you to various adventures.|
This is a pretty weird and incoherent book, but I have a certain fondness for it, perhaps because I first read it a very long time ago.
Certain Choose Your Own Adventure books by R. A. Montgomery perfectly encapsulate his writing style: Space and Beyond, House of Danger, The Island of Time, Project UFO, The Haunted House, and yes, The Owl Tree. Though they are eccentric mixtures of juvenile adventure and transcendental philosophy, one nonetheless tends to reflect fondly on these books after years of familiarity with them. It was a lucky day when you found the mystical owl tree in a wide clearing. The owls led you on numerous adventures, and today you're bringing your friend Sally to show her what they can do. The owls stare silently at you from the tall, gnarled tree, awaiting your next move.
Do you want to know the future? Ask the owls what you'll be when you grow up, or about the fate of earth. They're thoughtful, discerning birds, but not every secret of tomorrow is theirs to tell or know. If you inquire of the tiny saw-whet owl, he might insist you complete a quest before he answers you, but his description of gathering raspberries in the land of Illnoor among the Great Zoonies may not match up with the reality you find there. Even magical owls have biases, and you will be best served by greeting the unknown with an open mind.
Instead of speaking to the owls, you can wait until one flies away, and follow him to a magic kingdom. An owl in flight is hard to follow over forest terrain, but you'll find a few options for adventure if you make the attempt. You might ride a boat on rough currents, unable to control what direction you're headed, or climb a stone wall that grows higher as you go, providing a soaring vantage point over the Kingdom of Gollop, a town built around a castle where the Gollops are readying for war with the Evil Fotons. You never get more than that brief glimpse in this book, but the possibilities tease the mind. Rather than ride the boat or climb the wall, you can walk the trail where you last saw the owl you're following, but he's no easier to keep up with than before. You might meet the spirit of the forest in the form of a deer, willing to grant you a single wish, or just wander the paths with Sally in search of deeper meaning. Whatever you choose, most of the owl tree's secrets will remain a mystery by the end.
This is a flighty book in more ways than one, but Leslie Morrill's detailed illustrations are outstanding, and there's an undefinable quality to the story that I like. Almost nothing happens, but maybe that's the point: we remain on the outside looking in at a metaphysical mystery we barely begin to understand in these pages. The larger story is merely hinted at. The Owl Tree isn't among the better Bantam Skylark Choose Your Own Adventures, but it's an interesting story to revisit every once in a while. R. A. Montgomery's gamebooks tend to be like that.
|Special Thanks:||Thanks to Ken G. for the reissue cover scans.|
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Known EditionsOriginal edition
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