Monday, August 22, 2016

Deer Dancer: A Book Review and Resources

Deer Dancer by Mary Lyn Ray is a delightful look at the interaction and play between a young child who is in dance and a deer. You can find it read online here. It is a simple, easy to read book which would be appropriate for preschoolers or younger grade school. I really liked the movement, imagination, and the connection of dance to nature. Personally, I typically do programs on deer in the fall. I would include this quick book as part of a creative movement feature, reading the book, and then having music for a deer dance. There is a native story that this reminds me of deer dancing like this. I might also share this book as part of our exploration on deer. Here is a listing of various native stories on deer. Here is a link on a Yaqui Deer Dance as well and another with a video.

The story reads:
There’s a place I go that’s green and grass,
a place I thought that no one knew—
until the deer came.

I love that this recognizes and validates those special places for children. We tend to watch our children pretty vigilantly as a society, but allowing a nearby secret space or even just a hidden space nearby where we can hear what is going on is magical. Additionally, there is much imagery, as she is still as the grass. I really like the natural connection. 

The girl is somewhat apprehensive with her skills as a dancer; however, her confidence grew as she lifted her antlers like the deer. 

I love seeing children explore animals through play. Dance is a form of play. Here are other ideas I have pulled together to help children learn about animals through play:

Additionally, I often teach about deer in nature preschool. Here are ideas that we used to connect to deer.

General information on White Tailed Deer in Spring:

This post may contain affiliate links. I found it at the Bristol Library. 

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