Young Tenzin was born with a tender loving heart and is so wise that he is called "Holder of the Teachings." One day he finds a young musk deer wounded by an arrow. The deer, whom he names Jampa, tells him that a dream will show him how to help her. Following this dream, he carries her to a stream where the water allows him to remove the arrow. Another dream indicates using the myrobalan plant to heal the wound. Through prayers and in other ways Tenzin displays his respect for all the creatures on earth. After some time, Jampa tells Tenzin in a dream that it is time for her to return to the wild. Much as he will miss her, he knows he must let her go. Tenzin becomes a fine doctor, husband, and father. Jampa returns in dreams to bless him. Mayer borrows some Asiatic artistic symbols, like stylized clouds and decorative borders, for the delicately detailed illustrations. The robes, architecture, and scenery of the setting are adapted to create scenes which evoke the spiritual peace described in the text. Gouache paintings are also used on facing pages which hold the text in bordered arches surrounded by small details that embellish the visual story. There is a note on the importance of the musk deer, now facing extinction. A final "Afterword" fills in the background relationship of Tenzin's story to the philosophy of the Tibetan people and of Buddhism to help understand this unusual tale.
School Library Journal
Gr 3-5-Against an intricately illustrated backdrop of rugged peaks, scrolled clouds, and animals brushed with tiny strokes unfurls a tale of compassion, healing, and the guiding power of dreams. In the mountains of Tibet, a land where harshness meets exquisite beauty, lives Tenzin, a boy who is kind and wise beyond his years. When he finds a wounded musk deer, Jampa, he asks for guidance and he receives it, both from his inner voice (that hears the deer speak) and his dreams. Tenzin learns the art and science of healing through his experience with Jampa. Excessive detail makes this tender, spiritual parable somewhat dense and wordy. Nevertheless, the story flows smoothly. Each complex, gouache landscape is framed with a finely painted border of red with yellow filigree. The paintings are vibrant, expressive, and well suited to the story. While the book is lovely, it will have limited appeal. The afterword discusses compassion, dreams, healing and Buddhism.-Be Astengo, Alachua County Library, Gainesville, FL Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
In this narrative based on a Tibetan tale, a young boy saves a wounded musk deer, compassionately nurses it, and ultimately faces the inevitable-letting it go. Soros's understanding of the Tibetan culture and Buddhism and her knowledge of the landscape are conveyed with the clarity and respect a young reader will comprehend. The cultural references in text and illustration are accurate and vivid: juniper branches on charcoal fires, yak butter, "prayers sounding like droning of bees," teapot, costume, and home. The gouache illustrations incorporate vibrant colors of red and blue, beginning with exquisite endpapers portraying musk deer gracefully loping on a luscious blue background. Bright red decorative borders alternately curve around text visually moving the reader through the story, or form rectangular frames around illustrations, effectively enclosing the picture. Sometimes the clutter of clouds, stylishly depicted, interferes with the vast expanse of sky and terrain that is typical of the Tibetan landscape and several illustrations do not mirror or expand the narrative. The text at the conclusion describes an eagle swirling in front of the sun and swans in the lake, but they are not in the accompanying illustration. But the need to preserve and tell what is unique and precious-the Tibetan's non-violent view of the world-is a significant and noble objective. Not wanting to leave this to chance, Soros uses an afterword to discuss aspects of the Tibetan culture such as medicine, Buddhism, and the nature of destiny. The intent is purposeful and the audience is the adult, who is, in turn, encouraged to discuss the story and background with the child. Although the story is engaging andstands on its own, the appreciation of a culture that embraces compassion for all sentient beings and rejects aggression and violence distinguishes this work and depends on this final page. (Picture book. 5-10)