Armed with a sketchbook and patience, a young girl watches animals from a platform in a tree.
With quiet appreciation, the narrator describes what she sees on visits made from September through late November to her special place on the edge of the woods. She watches a fox take the last apple from a tree. A bear mother “snuffles for food” with her cub. Honking Canada geese fly overhead. There are skunks, acorn woodpeckers, rabbits, chipmunks, a deer with still-spotted fawns and turkeys. One day the lucky girl even observes a lynx. “I stay quiet, quiet / to keep it here— / for a moment.” Even on the gray, cold day on which no animals come, the narrator sits patiently, her back to readers, steadily waiting and watching. LaMarche’s illustrations, done mostly in shades of orange and brown with acrylics, colored pencil and inks, beautifully and realistically portray the ever changing woods, trees, plants and animals. The girl’s appreciation for all she sees and hears is as evident in her face and body language as it is in the text. While not as obviously place-specific as the prolific author’s Desert Song, illustrated by Ed Young (2000), the flora and fauna are recognizably Californian—but the appeal will be universal.
This gentle, lyrical celebration of the natural world will reward similarly observant readers. (Picture book. 4-8)