Deer Dancer


In this mesmerizing picture book from the author of the New York Times bestselling Stars, a young ballerina finds dancing inspiration in the natural world.

There’s a place I go that’s green and grass,
a place I thought that no one knew—
until the deer came.

This gorgeous picture book from celebrated author Mary Lyn Ray features luminous and ...

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In this mesmerizing picture book from the author of the New York Times bestselling Stars, a young ballerina finds dancing inspiration in the natural world.

There’s a place I go that’s green and grass,
a place I thought that no one knew—
until the deer came.

This gorgeous picture book from celebrated author Mary Lyn Ray features luminous and evocative art from Lauren Stringer and will capture the hearts of young dancers everywhere.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
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)
* "This utterly charming tale begins with a girl dancing in a glen. Then a deer appears. . . . Ray's evocative text has a subtle message about listening to the music in your heart. On the page, the words whirl in tandem with the marvelous art that recalls picture books from an earlier time. . . . Yet this beautifully crafted piece of bookmaking never feels dated, but rather timeless. Together, children and adults will revel in this excursion to a world where all is possible when no one is looking."
Kirkus Reviews
★ 2014-03-17
A young ballerina finds her muse in a woodland creature. A raven-haired, unconventionally dressed young girl has a secret place in a forest clearing where she practices the steps that she is learning in ballet class. Then one day a buck shows his face, and the two stare intently at each other in complete silence. When she is back in class, she wonders if her teacher has also seen that deer, as she tells her class to "Hold your head as if you're wearing antlers." The young girl struggles with her steps and positions, so she returns to her hideaway. So does the deer, and with a great smile on her face, the girl feels "[A] song to dance"—and maybe the deer does, too. Ray's brief text lyrically sings of the beauties of dance and nature. Stringer's lush acrylic paintings depict the forest in sumptuous shades of sunshine yellow and emerald green, the girl and deer each captured in swirling scenes of graceful movement. Vignettes in the ballet studio, painted against a white background, skillfully show young students intently practicing. How wonderful to connect the structured world of ballet with the free-form world of an animal at play. An ode to joyous dance. (Picture book. 4-7)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781442434219
  • Publisher: Beach Lane Books
  • Publication date: 5/6/2014
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 317,222
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.00 (w) x 12.20 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Mary Lyn Ray is a conservationist and author of several picture books for children. Ray’s texts are often praised for their lyricism and emotional depth, and in her works she frequently focuses on humankind’s relationship with nature. Among her critically acclaimed titles are Stars, Christmas Farm, Pumpkins, Shaker Boy, and Welcome, Brown Bird.

Lauren Stringer has illustrated many celebrated picture books, including The Princess and Her Panther by Wendy Orr and Scarecrow and Snow, both written by Cynthia Rylant, as well as her own Winter Is the Warmest Season and When Stravinsky Met Nijinsky. She lives with her family in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Visit her at

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