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OwlCrate Jr Book Box Review + Coupon – October 2020

OwlCrate Jr is a monthly book subscription box for kids aged 8-12. They send books as well as interesting and educational book-related items.

FYI, COVID-19 Updates: You can find OwlCrate shipping updates right here.

This box was sent to us at no cost for review. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)

About OwlCrate Jr

The Subscription Box: OwlCrate Jr

The Cost: $27.99 a month + shipping. Save with longer subscriptions.

COUPON: Use code MSA2019 to save 10% off your first order.

The Products: You will receive one hardcover middle-grade book plus assorted gender-neutral book-related items.

Ships to: The U.S. for $7.99, Canada for $9.99, and international for $19.99

OwlCrate Jr October 2020 “Epic Quests” Review


This month our theme is “Epic Quests” and the box arrived with this magazine, which highlights all of our items. It also includes an interview with the author, a creativity corner with a guide to drawing your own fantasy map, and some information on their monthly photo challenge. 


The Barren Grounds: The Misewa Saga Book One by David A. Robertson – Retail Value $17.99

I really enjoyed this month’s book, which comes with an exclusive cover, and found it to be a quick adventurous read! Morgan is a foster child of Indigenous descent whose foster family has recently accepted another, younger, child into their home who also happens to be Indigenous. While Morgan likes to keep to herself, her and the boy, Eli, begin to form a sort of friendship, or at least mutual respect for one another. This turns into a true sibling relationship when they discover that Eli’s drawings can take them to an alternate world, the snow-covered “Misewa” where there are animals who can talk and walk on two legs. As someone who reads fantasy often, Morgan is enthralled with the idea of becoming part of a fantasy world while Eli is happy to be somewhere that reminds him of his home and heritage. The two embark on a journey to help the animals of Misewa along with a fisher named Ochek and a squirrel named Arik. They are an unlikely group, but their mission is a desperate one. The characters are witty and likable and this book has elements that reminded me both of the Chronicles of Narnia and Star Wars. It certainly feels like the start to an epic adventure and as the first part of a series, you can definitely sense that these characters will be getting together again in this magical alternate world.

From Amazon:

Morgan and Eli, two Indigenous children forced away from their families and communities, are brought together in a foster home in Winnipeg, Manitoba. They each feel disconnected, from their culture and each other, and struggle to fit in at school and at their new home – until they find a secret place, walled off in an unfinished attic bedroom. A portal opens to another reality, Askí, bringing them onto frozen, barren grounds, where they meet Ochek (Fisher). The only hunter supporting his starving community, Misewa, Ochek welcomes the human children, teaching them traditional ways to survive. But as the need for food becomes desperate, they embark on a dangerous mission. Accompanied by Arik, a sassy Squirrel they catch stealing from the trapline, they try to save Misewa before the icy grip of winter freezes everything — including them.


We received a signed bookplate along with a letter from the author. 


The Barren Grounds Tattoos

We received this set of tattoos featuring some of the main animal characters from our story. We have Ochek, Arik, and the wolf along with the constellation that plays a very important role in the story.


OwlCrate Jr Exclusive Pencil Case and Drawing Pencil Set

Eli is a great artist in this story so it’s only right that we received our own set of drawing pencils that we can keep safe in this beautiful tin pencil case. This gorgeous scene was created by artist Maya McKibbin.


OwlCrate Jr Exclusive Sketchbook

To go with our pencils and case, we also received this fantastic sketchbook. The paper is nice and thick, perfect for drawing on with our new graphite pencils! It also features more of the same beautiful design from Maya McKibbin.


OwlCrate Jr Exclusive Map Bandana

This map bandana is such a nice color and it features a design inspired by the Chronicles of Narnia. I love all of the details here with all of the important elements that I remember from this beloved series. I believe this was designed by the talented artist Erin Gibbs.


OwlCrate Jr Exclusive Reusable Water Bottle

Staying hydrated is an important part of any journey and adventure, so it’s only right we received this fun Golden Compass-inspired water bottle! This has a straw top and holds over 20 oz. I love that they included the measurements on the side and how bright and colorful this design from artist Janine Lecour is!


OwlCrate Jr Exclusive Enamel Pin

This Hobbit-inspired pin was designed by Forensics & Flowers and it reads “Never laugh at live dragons.” I love the gold details and the detail of those splayed wings!


OwlCrate Jr Exclusive Sticker

Each box includes a collectible sticker that fits with the monthly theme. What a perfect design artist Ellen Surrey has created for this adventure

Verdict: What a fun box from OwlCrate Jr this month! I really enjoyed the story and I loved how they included the pencil set, case, and sketchbook which were beautifully designed and fit perfectly with our story. The water bottle is cute and handy, and the designs for the pin, bandana, and sticker were all so nice! At $35.98 ($27.99 + $7.99 shipping) for this box, I feel like the value was pretty great with all of these exclusive items!

To Wrap Up:

Can you still get this box if you sign up today? No, you’ll get the November box—and there’s no waitlist at the time of publication!

COUPON: Use code MSA2019 to save 10% off your first order.

Value Breakdown: This box costs $27.99$7.99 shipping. We received 8 items (including the tattoos and counting the pencils and case as one), meaning each item has an average value of about $4.50.

Check out all of our OwlCrate reviews and the best subscription boxes for kids!

Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add this box to your subscription list or wishlist!

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Written by Brandi Dowell

Brandi Dowell

Brandi has loved the idea of subscription boxes since joining Birchbox in 2013. Now that she’s a mother of 3, she loves finding unique boxes to educate and entertain her kids while enjoying some more pampering boxes for herself. Her favorites these days are Lillypost, KiwiCo boxes & Wicked Good Perfume!

Posted in Book Subscription Boxes, OwlCrate JR Reviews, OwlCrate Reviews, Subscription Box Reviews, Subscription Boxes for Kids| Tags: owlcrate jr | 2 comments

Comments (2)

  1. This was my 10-year-old’s second OwlCrate Jr box and he LOVED everything in it! He has read The Barren Grounds three times already. The water bottle is actually nicer than expected and having the measurement on the side is great for keeping track of how much he is drinking throughout the day.

    I was concerned with the price at first, but the curation is pretty terrific and the value is definitely there. I highly recommend this subscription for your own kiddos or as a gift!!


    • So glad to hear your son loved his box! Wow! Three times already? He must be excited that there will be more to come in this series! 🙂

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