In this funny, original tale, a foolish hunter spies a deer dancing deep in the forest. "Wowie-kazowie!" he cries. "A deer I can sell to the circus! Great gumballs-my fortune is made!" With a swirl of his lasso he captures the deer and brings her home. But to his dismay, the deer tells him she won't dance without the sweet singing of birds. And when the hunter snares them, they won't sing without the pine trees whistling along. And the pines won't whistle without the sea breeze blowing softly, and so on, until ...
In this funny, original tale, a foolish hunter spies a deer dancing deep in the forest. "Wowie-kazowie!" he cries. "A deer I can sell to the circus! Great gumballs-my fortune is made!" With a swirl of his lasso he captures the deer and brings her home. But to his dismay, the deer tells him she won't dance without the sweet singing of birds. And when the hunter snares them, they won't sing without the pine trees whistling along. And the pines won't whistle without the sea breeze blowing softly, and so on, until the deer convinces the hunter to put everything back and cleverly shows him another, better way to find his fortune. With brilliant playfulness in text and art, this story makes an important point about the interconnectedness of all things-and the joy of dancing!
In Kleven's (Sun Bread) relatively lengthy tale about the interconnectedness of all living things, an opportunistic hunter discovers that he can neither take the deer out of the woods nor the woods out of the deer. When the hunter spies a deer joyfully dancing in the forest, he's sure he has stumbled upon a moneymaking miracle. But once he lassoes the creature and takes her to his house, the deer doesn't seem so miraculous. "To dance, I need the sweet singing of birds," the deer explains. Netting some birds and bringing them indoors to accompany the deer doesn't work either. "To sing, they need the pine trees whistling along with them," according to the deer. After several other failed attempts to simulate the great outdoors in his living room, the hunter returns all the animals, plants and elements to their habitats and gets a dancing lesson as thanks. More narrative in style than some of her other work, Kleven's mixed-media compositions vary between framed, slightly static scenes and images that swirl and sway through the text like the light-footed doe. Particularly nifty collage elements include marbled paper birds' wings and, for the buildings in the hunter's town, scraps from newspapers and advertisements. Kleven's signature kaleidoscopic blend of color and texture and her respect-for-nature theme never disappoint. Ages 4-7. (Mar.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
The message of the interdependence of all creatures is delivered with humor in this tale of a young hunter's capture of a dancing deer. But the deer cannot dance without the song of birds. The captured birds require the whistling of the pine trees, the trees need the sea breeze, which misses the sea, which can't be happy without living fish. The disgruntled hunter realizes he cannot get rich from the dancing deer, for he must return everything to the place it belongs in nature. But when the deer teaches him how to dance, he finds both joy and satisfaction in the forest. Kleven uses bits of all sorts of cut papers and a few brush strokes of paint to create scenes filled with joyous action. There is an innocence in the depictions of the animals and a directness of vision that projects light-heartedness with anticipation of the happy ending. 2002, Dutton Children's Books/Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers, $16.99. Ages 4 to 8. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-In this allegorical tale told in colloquial language ("Wowie-kazowie, a dancing deer"), a modern-day hunter finds a dancing, talking deer in the forest and drags her home to sell to the circus. When she won't dance and sadly says she needs the music of the birds, he captures some. But in chain reaction, the birds need the soft whistling of the pine trees, which need the sea breeze, which needs the salty sea, which needs a fish, who needs his mother. "How am I supposed to find his mother?" the exasperated hunter asks. The wise deer suggests that if he replaces the fish, the fish will find her all by himself. The foolish hunter realizes, at the deer's suggestion, that he could put back everything, free the deer, and with her teaching become a dancer himself. Which he does. Kleven's signature colorful collage illustrations sing with light and movement and the hunter's return to the forest to leap and dance for four glorious spreads represents pure joy. While the opening quote from John Muir that "Whenever we try to isolate anything in the universe, we find that it's hitched up to everything else," is a worthy message, there is another one as well. The artwork depicts the unendearing hunter's crass materialism; the print on the city's buildings reminds residents to eat, consume, and buy; and the protagonist snaps, yells, and acts imperiously. The author may also be suggesting that to save our gentler selves, we may need to get out of our cities altogether.-Susan Hepler, Burgundy Farm Country Day School, Alexandria, VA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kleven (Sun Bread, 2001, etc.) folds folkloric elements into this original tale, just as she incorporates yarn, swatches of cloth, cut paper, and bits of photos into her brightly busy paintings. The dancing deer captured by a greedy hunter explains that it won't dance except to birdsong. The hunter rushes out to snare some birds-but they won't sing unless inspired by wind in the pines. Out he goes again, to uproot some trees . . . and so on, until at last the exhausted hunter learns his lesson, returns the captives crowding his apartment to the wild, and asks the deer to teach him to dance. The contrast between the hunter's barrenly geometric urban space and the verdant, freeform woodland visually underlines Kleven's theme, as does the transformation of the hunter's angular, angry stance to the exuberant, wide-open, very Chris Raschka-like curves of his closing dance. Part eco-awareness tract, part trickster tale, this delivers a heavily earnest message just lightly enough to keep it from sinking under its own weight. (Picture book. 6-9)