A young deer worries about losing his antlers but learns it’s just a part of growing up.
Wade’s walking through the snow and notices that the shadow of his antlers resembles trumpets. This makes him want to march, and he leads an impromptu parade through the forest. As he marches, he feels his antlers wiggling and abruptly stops the parade to run home and show his mother. She reminds him that she had told him before that his antlers would fall off and new ones would grow in the summer. Wade decides he doesn’t want to lose his antlers so for a few days sits on the sidelines while his friends dance and play hockey and jump rope. Then he decides he can’t wait any longer and tries to remove the antlers himself; no luck. Finally, after a day of tobogganing, he discovers that his antlers are gone! And sure enough, in the summer, two bumps sprout on his head, quickly growing into a pair of bigger trumpets. Bradford’s text is substantial, bringing a bit more complexity and depth than many picture books and capturing a child’s ambivalence about maturation; readers won’t have to stretch to see the parallels between Wade’s antlers and their impending loose teeth. Battuz plays with pattern, shape, and riotous color effectively.
A valuable lesson, nicely and sympathetically delivered. (Picture book. 4-8)