cover image Salt Hands

Salt Hands

Jane Chelsea Aragon. Dutton Books, $12.95 (24pp) ISBN 978-0-525-44489-3

In understated, simple language, a girl tells about waking up in the middle of the night and hearing ``something outside / like a rustle / or a breath.'' She sees ``a deer under the pear tree. / The moon casts a shadow of his antlers on the ground.'' The girl sprinkles salt into her hands and waits patiently and quietly for the deer to trust her. She sings softly and holds out her hands. Cautiously, the deer licks the salt and ``walks off into the night.'' While the poem is not rich in metaphor, its tone is appropriately hushed and respectful of the unique moment when human and animal touch. Rand's moon-washed watercolors suggest the girl's breathless anticipation and the deer's wary calm as the two meet under the golden pear tree. Ages 4-7. (Sept.)