The Great Change

White Deer of Autumn, Author, White, Author, Carol Grigg, Illustrator Beyond Words Publishing $14.95 (1p) ISBN 978-0-941831-79-6
This wistful text, based on a Native American tale, ponders the meaning of life and death--reaching the sensible if daunting conclusion that one is impossible without the other. Nine-year-old Wanba helps her elderly grandma to catch and clean fish, ``returning what they did not need'' to the sea. The dying fish trouble the girl, reminding her of her grandfather's recent death, and she wonders, ``Why does everything have to die?'' Drawing on the surounding vista of ever-changing nature, Wanba's wise relative speaks of a caterpillar becoming a butterfly, of fish as the food of life for pelicans, of death as nothing more than a change within the great Circle of Life. While the good sense of this message is well taken, the story seems ultimately ponderous for lack of a plot on which to hang its philosophy. Furthermore, empathy with Wanba or her grandmother is diffused as the text wavers between their two viewpoints. Delicate pastel watercolors capture the story's essence on gossamer wings with a pleasing combination of sophistication and childish impressibility. Ages 4-up. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 09/28/1992
Release date: 10/01/1992
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