Confronted by the beauty and innocence of nature one perfect fall day, a hunter makes an unexpected choice to honor living things in a different way.
The alarm goes off when the world is still shrouded in “black velvet darkness.” The man lights a fire, makes coffee, dresses, picks up his gun, and walks into the forest. The sun is just coming up. A rabbit dashes right in front of him, drawing the man’s attention to a spiderweb that is dotted with gems of dew and a milkweed pod that is letting loose its soft, fluffy seeds. Against the backdrop of glowing fall trees, little finches fly overhead. Then the man sees a doe and her fawn, who are standing next to a stream. They freeze, waiting to see if there is danger about. When the doe is reassured that all is well, she leads her young one to where “long, tender grasses” are growing. The man watches as the animals feed, and slowly he raises his gun. He knows all too well what to do, and yet, something stays his hand. This stunning book takes readers into a forest in fall, giving them a taste of the beautiful things that such a place at such a time has to offer. As the story unfolds, readers see how the hunter is affected by what he sees and how he discovers something about his place in the natural world.
–Marya Jansen-Gruber, Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews , May 1, 2019
The Hunter wakes and slowly prepares himself for his journey. As he travels through the forest, he looks around and sees the wonderful woods and the creatures that live there. Eventually he spies a deer and her fawn and prepares to shoot but is stopped by their beauty. He then returns home, content to be another piece in nature’s amazing design. Wahl has created a simplistic plot that highlights a moral dilemma plaguing our modern society but manages to do so in such a natural way. The vocabulary may be a bit difficult for younger readers, but the words add to the overall intense effect of nature throughout the tale. The text itself is consistently easy to read and switches between black and white to best stand out against the illustrations. Jessell has outdone himself with a series of illustrations that are vividly real and capture the changing movement of autumnal forest life. Through these illustrations, readers understand what the Hunter is seeing and become just as amazed by the beauty of nature as well. Together, Wahl and Jessell have created a gorgeous story that brings to light the colorful, changing world we live in and how we can choose to be a part of it. An excellent tale to showcase the beauty of nature and how people can change to a variety of audiences.
–Margaret Kennelly, School Library Journal , March 1, 2019