Sunday, October 14, 2007

review: Dear Deer

Dear Deer written and illustrated by Gene Barretta. Henry Holt, 2007 (978-0-8050-8104-6) $16.95

Framed as a letter from "Aunt Ant" to her "Dear Deer," this book demonstrates homophones with short vignettes of the latest zoo news, starting with the MOOSE who loves MOUSSE (He ATE EIGHT bowls) and ending, "There is no NEWS about the GNUS. They keep to themselves." Looking at the cantankerous faces of those gnus, you believe it.

Except for few slang terms that may not be familiar--"The DOE KNEADED the DOUGH, because she NEEDED the dough"--most of the wordplay is pretty self-explanatory, so beginning readers can probably enjoy this on their own. Adults are less likely than kids to find the text funny, but the comic, brightly colored pictures, which include a glasses-wearing moose cozily lounging with a bowl on his stomach, an elephant throwing a pail full of frantic mice and the aforementioned highly ticked-off gnus, have a broader appeal. (5 & up)

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