craft items including pinecones, construction paper, cotton balls, googly eyes next to the owl babies book

Owl Babies by Martin Waddell || Book Review + Easy Pinecone Owl Craft

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This post contains a review of Owl Babies by Martin Waddell and a super simple owl craft perfect for preschoolers. All opinions are my own.

When I was working full-time outside the home, daycare drop-off was my least favorite part of the day.

Even though we were blessed to have my mother-in-law care for my daughter for the first 18 months of her life and we absolutely loved the daycare provider we had after that, I still struggled with walking about the door knowing I wouldn’t see her for the next 8-9 hours.

Most days went smoothly, but on the days when separation anxiety reared its ugly head, I had the hardest time saying goodbye to my daughter. There’s nothing worse as a parent then having to walk away when your child is screaming for you!

I am lucky enough that I now work from home so we don’t have to do the daycare dance anymore (which is a huge blessing, especially now that we have two kids!), but that doesn’t mean separation anxiety doesn’t exist for us anymore!

I have found that reading Owl Babies is a great way to remind her that not only is she stronger than she knows, but that her grownups will always come back.

We will continue to read this book in our family, as I know there will come a day when my son also needs to find the words for his separation fears, and this is the perfect choice.

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Owl Babies by Martin Waddell – a story about separation anxiety

Multiple award-winning book Owl Babies is the story of three little owls braving a night without their mother for the first time.

Once the initial surprise of their mother being gone is past, the owl siblings discuss what she may be doing and whether or not she will return.

I especially love how the difference in thought-process is shown amongst the siblings. Other than their obvious size, there is a clear representation of ages in the dialogue, with eldest sibling Sarah having her own mother-like qualities as she works to calm her younger siblings.

The owl siblings push themselves to be brave, even in the face of uncertainty of their mother’s return, much like a child experiencing separation anxiety. I won’t share the whole book so you can enjoy it together, but spoiler alert – she comes back 😉

One of the things that makes Owl Babies such a fabulous book are the multiple themes that can be applied to family life. Elements of bravery, problem-solving, separation anxiety, sibling relationships, and attachment are present in the story, all of which are common parts of childhood.

We have been reading this book since my daughter was about a year old, and each time I like to ask her some simple questions, such as “have you ever been scared about mommy and daddy leaving?” or “tell me about a time you were without us and had to be brave.”

These types of questions move the reading experience from simple absorption to comprehension.

In addition to asking pointed questions, another way to go beyond the book is by making your very own owl babies!

We firmly believe crafts like these are applicable for all ages, but this activity was designed with preschool children in mine.

Read on for cute and easy DIY owl babies tutorial.

Pinecone owl babies craft


  • Small craft pinecones – I searched FOUR stores before finding these, so I recommend ordering online (affiliate link).
  • Cotton balls (3-4 per owl)
  • Googly eyes
  • Orange paper
  • Elmer’s glue
  • Scissors (kid scissors if your child is old enough to cut the paper themselves – safety first!)

Making the owl babies

Start by pulling apart the cotton balls and wrapping around the pinecone, filling in the gaps as much as possible. It works best to stretch the cotton but not pull completely apart. You can tear it into sections, but it makes more of a fluffy look if you keep it together.

Once your owl baby is fully fluffed and looking cute, attach the googly eyes towards the top of the pinecone with Elmer’s glue.

Once the eyes are attached, it’s time to make the beak!

Using the scissors, cut a triangular shape out of the orange paper. I cut a corner off the larger piece of paper and then just eyeballed the shape. Definitely doesn’t have to be perfect.

Glue the beak onto the owl below the eyes. It helps to glue it directly to the cotton even though in this picture it looks like its glued to the pinecone.

Ta-da! You now have tiny and adorable owl babies! Make as many or as few as you like. We went with three since that’s how many there are in the book.

Once the glue had fully dried, my daughter and I played with these for a long time. They are the perfect size for little hands and we had the best time making them a home out of glue sticks (such a creative choice!) and reenacting the story.

Managing separation anxiety through story

As much as I hated work-day mornings, they only made picking up my daughter at the end of the day that much sweeter.

Seeing her little face grinning at me was the best reception after a long day away. Her daily reports were almost always positive and it gave me so much comfort knowing that her separation anxiety was short-lived and manageable.

Reading will always be my go-to for helping my children navigate challenges in their life and build character. Owl Babies is a wonderful book with relatable characters and a thematically appropriate setting for young children who may be feeling some separation anxiety.

Have other great book suggestions for kids struggling with separation anxiety? If so, please share them in the content below for the benefit of other readers!

Happy reading,

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Looking for more ways to go beyond the book? Visit the Explore page for additional ideas or check out these posts below!

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