Raven, Rabbit, Deer Reviews

Publishers Weekly ★ Starred Review

Cover: Raven, Rabbit, Deer Author: Sue Farrell Holler Ilustrator: Jennifer Faria“Acrylic and colored pencil artwork by debut illustrator Faria (Chippewas of Rama First Nation) startles with rich, startling winter sunset hues of fuschia, violet, and aqua….Holler’s story gains from the interplay of dimensions: the affectionate relationship between the boy and his grandfather, the growing vocabulary they share, and their slow-paced appreciation of the natural world.”

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School Library Journal

“Brilliant colors of the trees, animals, and characters contrast nicely with the white of the snow, and on several pages the late-day rainbow-colored sky is reflected on the ground. Whether or not children are close to their own elders, this beautiful picture book engages and delights. The grandfather points out animals in both English and Ojibwemowin; the illustrator is a member of the Chippewas of Rama First Nation. VERDICT An excellent addition to any school or public library, especially those looking to freshen up their picture book collections on the subject of winter.”
—Anne Jung-Mathews, Plymouth State Univ., NH

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The Horn Book Magazine

“This sweetly unassuming picture book is simultaneously a small wintertime adventure, a story of a loving intergenerational friendship, and an animal-identification book incorporating both English and Ojibwemowin vocabulary….Acrylic and colored-pencil illustrations vividly portray the snowy landscape as well as the boy and grandfather’s home; the bright yellow living room filled with mementos radiates love and warmth. Endpapers helpfully label the three animals with their English and Ojibwemowin names; the Ojibwemowin names are also spelled phonetically.”
—Nicholl Denice Montgomery

Read the full review in the January/February 2021 issue of The Horn Book Magazine

Kirkus Reviews

“On a snowy winter’s day, a young Ojibwe boy takes Grandpa’s hand and leads him out of the busy town and into the woods….Faria (Chippewas of Rama First Nation) brings an #ownvoices perspective to Holler’s text, illustrating the gentle scenes in acrylics and colored pencil. Understated humor emerges in the details…Phonetic pronunciations of the Ojibwemowin words appear on the endpapers.

This intergenerational tale gently introduces woodland animal tracks and Ojibwemowin words.”

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Midwest Book Review

“A thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining picture book introduction to the subject of animal tracks to children ages 4-7, Raven, Rabbit, Deer by the team of author Sue Farrell Holler and illustrator Jennifer Faria is an extraordinary and forthrightly recommended addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections.”

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Youth Services Book Review

Rating: 5…In this story, the grandfather provides the Ojibwemowin (an indigenous language of North America) name for all the animals that he and his grandson see in the woods. There is a pronunciation key for each of the names as well….

To whom would you recommend this book? This book is perfect for children between the ages of three and six years old. I could see this book being read just before a winter walk in the snow–a great way to encourage children to carefully look for tracks in the snow of any animals that might have passed through….

 Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our ‘to read’ piles? Yes, great introduction to the Ojibwemowin language for children.”
Kristin Guay, former youth services librarian

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Canadian Review of Materials

Raven, Rabbit, Deer tells a sweet, intergenerational story through the eyes of a young Indigenous boy….

I enjoyed the almost childish and innocent illustrations by Jennifer Faria. The soft lines and gentle colours connect the reader (or viewer) to the tender inside the world of the young boy. The illustrations align perfectly with author Sue Farrell Holler’s words and invite us to walk with the boy and his grandpa on that glorious winter afternoon….

Raven, Rabbit, Deer serves as a window for Indigenous children to see themselves and their families in the story. It also serves as a window for everyone in the classroom to learn about Indigenous ways of knowing and being. There is a thoughtful glossary with pictures as well to teach readers the proper pronunciations of raven, rabbit, and deer in Ojibwemowin. If you are considering setting up a multicultural and multilingual classroom library, I highly recommend adding this piece to your collection.

Highly Recommended.”
Emma Chen is a Ph.D. student with a research focus on immigrant children’s heritage language education at University of Saskatchewan.

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“An extraordinary nature picture book for young children is Raven, Rabbit, Deer by Sue Farrell Holler….This delightful book is ideal to share with a child anytime, but particularly during winter.”
—Glenn Perrett

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CanLit for LittleCanadians

“At its heart, Raven, Rabbit, Deer is a story about a grandfather and young grandson taking a walk in the snow. But simple pleasures and company are often bigger than they might appear, and that can be said for Raven, Rabbit, Deer as well….

Though Raven, Rabbit, Deer is culturally informative with its inclusion of Ojibwemowin, author Sue Farrell Holler has not created it as a picture book of vocabulary as much as a story of a touching inter-generational relationship. As grandfather and grandson walk and chat, they each give and take something different and yet together….The child sees the wonder of the natural world while the grandfather sees its reality, instead appreciating the wonder of his grandson’s perspective. By focusing on the relationship and the sensory nature of that walk, Sue Farrell Holler makes Raven, Rabbit, Deer more personal and less informative than it could have been by another pen.

Similarly, debut picture book illustrator Jennifer Faria takes that heartfelt relationship and organic walk in a winter park and makes it into something warm and embracing….Using acrylic paint and coloured pencil, Jennifer Faria has given Raven, Rabbit, Deer a boldness of colour and shape but with an understated edge that complements Sue Farrell Holler’s story and intensifies it.

In Raven, Rabbit, Deer, or gaagaagi, waabooz, waawaashkeshi as would be in Ojibwemowin, Sue Farrell Holler and Jennifer Faria have let us enjoy an outing with a grandfather and his grandson and feel the warmth of that harmonious connection between people and with place.”

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Canadian Bookworm

“This picture book is a beauty….I loved how the end papers showed the three animals of the title, showed the tracks they make, and gave their names in Ojibwemowin with a pronunciation guide….The drawings were great, with expressive faces and simple and colourful images of the world. A great book for the coming season.”

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The International Educator

Raven, Rabbit, Deer by Sue Farrell Holler is a brand new release….grandfather teaches the boy which animals make which tracks as well as the Ojibwemowin names of the animals.”

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