cover image Lost Moose

Lost Moose

Jan Slepian. Philomel Books, $15.95 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-399-22749-3

A graceful balance of naturalistic scenes and intentionally hazy pictures gives Lewin's (Pepe the Lamplighter) watercolors an emotional undercurrent to match that of Slepian's (The Broccoli Tapes) strong story of a boy's silent communication with a young moose. After being separated from its mother while swimming during a storm, the moose cub lands on a wooded island where families are vacationing. A small boy taking an early morning walk comes across the lost moose and concludes that it must be one of Santa's reindeer. Hoping the master will come in search of his missing courser, the boy follows the cub until, in a quietly dramatic scene, the animal and human mothers arrive simultaneously to claim their wandering children. Although the language is occasionally precious (""A worry walked into James's head""), Slepian's capable shifts between the perspectives of the moose and the boy intriguingly suggest parallels. The art, meanwhile, moves from light-dappled full-page spreads to silhouetted compositions, subtly underscoring the contrast in point of view. Ages 4-8. (Mar.)