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THE DEER WATCH by Pat Lowery Collins


by Pat Lowery Collins ; illustrated by David Slonim

Age Range: 3 - 7

Pub Date: April 9th, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-7636-4890-0
Publisher: Candlewick

A slow start to the story and the odd line breaks won’t keep readers from being mesmerized.

It’s another summer at the beach house, and a boy’s father has promised that he will at last see a deer. The two head out early, searching the dunes and the marsh grass, finding traces of wildlife but no deer. A working bulldozer keeps deer away from the road, but the conservation land holds promise. The narrator knows he must keep still and quiet, but it is a mighty battle against his body, which has the wiggles. In the end, their patience is rewarded by a vision so awesome that the boy has trouble putting it into words—“the memory would never leave— / …  / our two worlds crossed / for just a magic while.” In an odd mix of childlike voice and adult sensibility that nonetheless entrances, lyrical sentences capture the scenery in words: “…There / was a pond, a shiny mirror / full of trees all upside down / and water lilies right side up.” Slonim’s textured oil paintings, with visible brush strokes, evoke childhood, nature and the tender relationship between a father and son, adding to the scenes described in the text instead of mirroring them.

While each individual part may not be spectacular, the sum has a quiet majesty and beauty that begs to be shared one on one. (Picture book. 3-7)