TENZIN’S DEER by Barbara Soros

TENZIN’S DEER

A Tibetan Tale
by & illustrated by
Age Range: 5 - 10
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KIRKUS REVIEW

In this narrative based on a Tibetan tale, a young boy saves a wounded musk deer, compassionately nurses it, and ultimately faces the inevitable—letting it go. Soros’s understanding of the Tibetan culture and Buddhism and her knowledge of the landscape are conveyed with the clarity and respect a young reader will comprehend. The cultural references in text and illustration are accurate and vivid: juniper branches on charcoal fires, yak butter, “prayers sounding like droning of bees,” teapot, costume, and home. The gouache illustrations incorporate vibrant colors of red and blue, beginning with exquisite endpapers portraying musk deer gracefully loping on a luscious blue background. Bright red decorative borders alternately curve around text visually moving the reader through the story, or form rectangular frames around illustrations, effectively enclosing the picture. Sometimes the clutter of clouds, stylishly depicted, interferes with the vast expanse of sky and terrain that is typical of the Tibetan landscape and several illustrations do not mirror or expand the narrative. The text at the conclusion describes an eagle swirling in front of the sun and swans in the lake, but they are not in the accompanying illustration. But the need to preserve and tell what is unique and precious—the Tibetan’s non-violent view of the world—is a significant and noble objective. Not wanting to leave this to chance, Soros uses an afterword to discuss aspects of the Tibetan culture such as medicine, Buddhism, and the nature of destiny. The intent is purposeful and the audience is the adult, who is, in turn, encouraged to discuss the story and background with the child. Although the story is engaging and stands on its own, the appreciation of a culture that embraces compassion for all sentient beings and rejects aggression and violence distinguishes this work and depends on this final page. (Picture book. 5-10)

Pub Date: March 1st, 2003
ISBN: 1-84148-811-9
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Barefoot
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 2003




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