The Secret Fawn
The Secret Fawn
I see something! In the bushes. Not a deer . . . A fawn, a baby deer. Golden and soft like the sunlight. Quiet as a whisper. Little like me. It looks up and blinks. “Hello,” we say with our eyes.
The Secret Fawn, written by Kallie George and illustrated by Elly MacKay, is an enchanting, quietly moving picture book that validates the beauty of being small, celebrates the joy of discovery, and applauds the sheer power and wonder of our connection to nature.
Being the youngest and tiniest in the family often means missing out on “everything”, including seeing a deer near the clothesline (because you’re inside, getting dressed all by yourself), enjoying shooting stars in the night sky (because you have to go to bed early) and picking the first ripe apple of autumn (because you’re too short to reach it). But the determined little girl in this inspirational tale decides to claim her independence and sets out on her own adventure, slipping out to her backyard one morning with a sugar cube in her pocket while breakfast is being made. Is that the deer? No, it’s just a rustle of leaves. Is that the deer? No, that flash of brown is Nala, the neighbour’s dog. Is that splashing sound being made by the deer? No, it’s a bird in the pond. Frustrated and hungry, the little girl takes a rest in the soft, wet grass, about to give up. Then, she sees something wonderful in the thicket. No, it’s not the deer, but it’s her fawn, sleeping in the sunlight, small, beautiful and special—just like the little girl.
Acclaimed Vancouver children’s author Kallie George has penned a relatable, sweetly original narrative, skillfully conveying the simple pleasures of life through the eyes and thoughts of a young child. And award-winning artist Elly MacKay has created a subtly breathtaking natural world in The Secret Fawn though her use of paper theatre: ink, paper, scissors, light and a camera. MacKay, a resident of Owen Sound, Ontario, who attended the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and the University of Canterbury with a focus on printmaking and illustration, has crafted visually captivating scenes that expertly complement the text via her cut-paper, light box diorama art, drawing readers deeply into the heartwarming story and bringing each page, character and the countryside vividly to life. Through a clever combination of single- and double-page spreads, the effective use of close-up and distanced images and earthy tones rendered in green, yellow, brown, orange and blue, MacKay depicts idyllic, magical encounters with Mother Nature.
The Secret Fawn, with its richly detailed three-dimensional artwork and evenly paced, inclusive and engaging prose, is an absolute treasure neatly housed within 40 pages. This must-have picture book triumph will both comfort and delight readers of all ages, especially those (budding) naturalists and animal lovers longing for a timeless and memorable read to share, savour and cherish.
Jennifer D. Foster is a Toronto, Ontario-based freelance editor, writer and mentor who’s a big admirer and supporter of forest bathing, kids’ lit and nature. Her company is Planet Word.