cover image Deer Dancer

Deer Dancer

Mary Lyn Ray, illus. by Lauren Stringer. S&S/Beach Lane, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4424-3421-9

The team behind Mud and Red Rubber Book Day return with another story celebrating a child’s connection to nature—in this case, the child in question is a young dancer who practices outdoors in a spot “that’s green and grass, a place I thought that no one knew.” Dressed in tights, tutu, tank top, and T-shirt (it’s clear that, in addition to a love of dance, she has a strong sense of personal style), the girl is startled by the appearance of a deer; they size each other up before the deer disappears into the woods. During a second chance meeting, girl and deer share a dance together—a moment heightened by the almost supernatural greens and yellows Stringer uses to paint this secluded forest refuge. Her stylized acrylics emphasize the deer’s lithesome grace, too, giving it a coyly pointed snout and spindly legs that look permanently en pointe. Ray’s verselike prose captures both the way the girl finds inspiration in nature and the joy she finds in dancing when no one is watching her—no one two-legged, anyway. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Erin Murphy, Erin Murphy Literary Agency. (May)