cover image Fawn in the Grass

Fawn in the Grass

Joanne Ryder. Henry Holt & Company, $16.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8050-6236-6

Using a theme she explored for slightly older children in Step into the Night and Mockingbird Morning, Ryder's child-centered lyric poem identifies the riches to be found on a walk through a field. ""There are treasures to see/ hiding all around me,"" says the unnamed child narrator. ""I see more things each day/ as new friends come my way."" Beginning and ending with the shy fawn of the title, Ryder's satisfying rhymes identify such sounds and sights as ""a lizard who creeps/ past another who sleeps"" and ""a blur and a whir/ as two hummingbirds race."" Narahashi (Who Said Red?) populates her deceptively simple gouache and watercolor paintings with chickadees, ferns, shadowed bark and sleepy woodland flowers. Her delicate renderings create just enough suspense to keep young readers turning pages. A mysterious nose peeks from a hole in the ground and on the succeeding page becomes a pink-faced mole. A ""speck in the sky"" transforms into a sweeping panorama of ""a hawk circl[ing] high."" A white butterfly in a plain blue sky lands lightly on the next spread ""on a circle of [Queen Anne's] lace."" Though never stated explicitly, the book underscores the message that nature is full of beauty, grace and unexpected pleasures. Ages 2-5. (Apr.)