cover image Little Caribou

Little Caribou

Sarah Fox-Davies. Candlewick Press (MA), $14.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-1-56402-923-2

This clear if undramatic account of a caribou calf's first year may be best suited to classroom use. In her authorial debut, Fox-Davies (illustrator of Moonfrog) begins with Little Caribou's springtime birth on high, tree-bare tundra, where she roams with thousands of other calves and cows. The reader follows her along trails ""worn deep and smooth"" by ancient migrations. Little Caribou moves in a rhythmic but uneventful round of feast and famine, northern tundra and southern forest, long summer light and short winter days. Unfortunately, a monotonous voice damps any potential narrative rhythm or momentum. The details of daily life can be banal-""The caribou feast on leaves and berries. Little Caribou nibbles the plants, but she does not eat as much as Cow Caribou. The bulls eat the most""-but teachers may appreciate the consistent reading level and well-integrated information. Fox-Davies's misty watercolors capture only the broadest details in pleasant if pedestrian settings. The most attractive element here may be the book design, which permits small groups of caribou to wander off full-page illustrations onto the facing pages of text. Ages 5-8. (Oct.)