Zoe and the Fawn Book Review

Book Review
Zoe and the Fawn
Written by Catherine Jameson
Illustrated by Julie Flett
Originally published by Theytus Books in 2006

Why we chose this book:
We are really loving Julie Flett's artwork (The Girl and the Wolf, A Day with Yayah), so we were excited to read Zoe and the Fawn. Also, First Nations books are increasingly on my radar, so this was a book we didn't want to miss. Theytus Books provided a review copy in exchange for an honest review.

Mom's Review
When a little girl and her father go out to feed their horses, the girl notices a fawn sitting at the edge of the forest. The girl and her father approach, see that the mother is not present, and take a short walk to look for the mother. Along the way, the girl asks if different creatures are the fawn's mother. When they return to the edge of the forest, they finally see the mother. Short and sweet, Zoe and the Fawn is packed with beauty and opportunities for conversation and learning.

As Zoe and her father observe each animal, the Okanagan term for the animal appears alongside the English in the text. For most of our readings, I skipped the Okanagan words; there was not a pronunciation guide, and my initial attempts at phonetically reading were just plain bad. Before we read again, I will be looking for some YouTube videos. Lack of pronunciation guide aside, T and I were both glad to (try to) read/say a few words in another language. If you've been following us for a while, you know the value I place on respect and understanding, and you know I believe that exposure to other cultures paves the way for that. In addition to talking about language, T and I hypothesized why Zoe asks if the different animals were the fawn's mother. Maybe she just read Are You My Mother?, maybe she is being silly, maybe she is practicing words in Okanagan. Zoe reminded me of T, and T identified with Zoe. (He thinks she'd like LEGO's like him.) Beauty, humor, repetition, conversation opportunities, and a second language all make Zoe and the Fawn a worthwhile reading experience.

Son's Review
(Age: 4)
Mom: Does Zoe and the Fawn remind you of another book?

Son: Well, I guess Ninja Camp, 'cuz it's also an outside book.

Mom: Do you think Zoe really thought the fish or the bird was the fawn's mother? Why did she say those things?

Son: No. Because it was her imagination.

Mom: What would you do if you saw a fawn?

Son: Um, a baby deer? I would get so close to it and pet it and then go back inside.

Mom: Do you know that is actually a bad idea?

Son: Why?

Mom: Because it is a wild animal, you could transfer your smell so that other animals will smell human on it, or if its mother saw you, well, who knows what she would do?

Mom: Would you want to be friends with Zoe? What would you like to do together?

Son: Yes. Well, I would build LEGO's with Zoe because she might also like LEGO's. And I would get a handful of LEGO's for her and a base and some guy parts. And I would do that for me too.

Mom: What would you say to Zoe's dad?

Son: I would say, "Hi," and, " What's Zoe's favorite thing right now and what age is Zoe and I am four."

Mom: There are some Okanagan words in this book. Why do you think the author did that?

Son: Because Okanagan words are fun.

Mom: What did you like about Zoe and the Fawn?

Son: I liked that it is so magnificent. My favorite part is when they find the fawn and her mother.

Mom: What is most important to know?

Son: I think it is a good book. It is a possibility-of-might-happen-to-you book.

Mom: What does Zoe and the Fawn make you think/wonder about?

Son: It makes me wonder about if I might see a deer at the zoo that has been attacked and hurt.