Whitefoot: A Story from the Center of the World

Wendell Berry, Author, Davis Te Selle, Illustrator , illus. by Davis Te Selle. Counterpoint $22 (60p) ISBN 978-1-58243-432-2

This small-format, gifty offering from an acclaimed author is not necessarily a children's book; the story it tells, in prose, will absorb adult admirers of literary craftsmanship as thoroughly as it does children. When Whitefoot the mouse is flooded out of her nest and carried downstream on a log—and most of the book relates this journey—she owes her survival to her innate skills. Every detail merits the closest observation: “Her ears were listening into the slur and spatter around her. Her nose was intelligently sniffing....The voice in her mind was saying, 'Seeds! Seeds! Look around!'” If Te Selle's densely detailed black-and-white drawings were any more realistic, readers would be able to see Whitefoot's tiny furry body breathing. Though everything that happens takes place an inch off the ground, Berry finds a heroic dimension to Whitefoot, and his gift is to make readers feel it, too. Ages 7–12. (Jan.)

Reviewed on: 12/08/2008
Release date: 12/01/2008
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