Written and Illustrated By Elwyn Tate
Published on: November 21, 2013
This is a picture book that leaves me feeling like I ‘experienced’ something. Something wonderful, that is. It is so incredibly gorgeous that I could stare at it for a long, long time. Pictures so serene and calming. Illustrations that drew me in to where I almost felt like I was in the woods with these animals.
A deer, a squirrel and a mole know a secret.
They know that once a year a very special person plays a brief visit to the Deep and Snowy wood. Who could this special person be?
If there is one thing I came away with after reading this story it is how much harmony is in this picture book. From the illustrations, to the story, to how the words are displayed on the page – everything harmonizes perfectly with the other parts.
At the beginning of the story a deer is running toward something. The crows notice, but they don’t know where the deer is running to. Then a squirrel begins hopping toward something leaving a badger, bat, fox, and rat wondering where the squirrel is going. Finally, a mole begins digging a path toward something. On and on they go until we see a sign saying “North Pole 100 miles.” As they come to a stop, we see the other animals are with them too on a hill overlooking the aurora borealis when someone in a red suit comes flying by.
The story itself is simple, but so very well done. The words on the page flow with the rhythm of the picture that is being shown to the reader. Words regarding wind tend to have a swirl effect. While other pages show words as part of the illustrations. An example of this are the tree branches the crows are sitting on – each branch under the crows are where the words are displayed, curving to the angle of the branch. Some passages have words that go up a hill and then down a hill. Some passages have words that go underground, inside a tunnel.
The illustrations are gorgeous. I know that everyone is different when it comes to art, but these illustrations have such layered texture that was simply lovely to stare at. No detail was left undone – every picture has depth to it, enticing you to look more closely. In addition to the beauty, some of the animals are truly unique to look at – the crows were my favorite. There is a slight anthropomorphic look to the woodland animals as most of them wear scarves, while a few also wear hats too.
Overall, this is quite a lovely picture book. The story is simple, but elegant and visually appealing as you read words that go up and down. The illustrations have such depth and nuance to them that they can almost feel 3-D at times. Reading this feels like an ‘experience’ and not just a book. Because of its serene nature, I can also see it as a wonderful bedtime book.
Rating: 5 stars