cover image Shadow the Deer

Shadow the Deer

Theresa Radcliffe. Viking Children's Books, $13.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-670-83852-3

A feast more for the eyes than for the ears, this admirably researched story introduces a thirsting deer who steals away anxiously to a nearby lake, leaving her three-day-old fawn. Though she is absent only briefly, fear and uncertainty envelop her like the thickening mist in the forest. She returns barely in time to rescue her fawn from a mother fox hunting a meal for her two hungry cubs. Butler's lifelike illustrations, worked with gouache, watercolors and air brush, capture uncanny details even as they suggest the diffuse, vapory air of the damp forest. Their intimacy and nobility pose a challenge to language; first-time author Radcliffe's diction is precise and unadorned, clearly supporting the artist's work, and the layout reflects this subordination of text. The author's and the artist's understanding of wildlife behavior and habitats shines through--their nature tale has both drama and integrity. Ages 2-6. (June)