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Thursday, November 14, 2019

The Ranger, written and illustrated by Nancy Vo. Groundwood Books, 2019. $17.95 ages 6 and up

"The fox looked at Annie,
Annie said, "I will bind
your wounds and feed you."

The next day, the fox
was still weak.

"Fine, I shall stay with
you one more day," said

This is the second book in the Crow Stories trilogy. In The Outlaw (2018), we learned the power of perception and the influence one person can have. The Ranger provides a new impactful character for consideration. The look of the book is familiar; the palette of mostly black, white and gray, the tone for the telling, the quiet pace of the story itself, and the gorgeous textured artwork work to create another unique and memorable tale of friendship and harmony.

In the beginning, readers are told the person pictured is a ranger. Until the perspective changes to seeing her from the front, it is not known that the ranger is a young woman. Once that is clear, her journey through the brush ensues. It leads to a fox in trouble; its leg is caught in a steel trap.

Annie offers help, healing, and companionship. The two set off, spending their days and nights together. Despite the wounded leg, the fox keeps up and provides protection from a huge and threatening bear. Annie's world goes black. Semi-consciousnesses finds her face to face with an old woman who offers healing medicine. Annie is thankful.  Upon full awakening, the woman is gone and the fox is by her side. The two travel on, full of love and appreciation each for the other.

The dramatic switches in perspective, with the addition of one pertinent color, bring clarity to this marvelous tale. Readers will be surprised by the twists, and the feelings of suspense as the two travel. Strong bonds of support and friendship make this story both memorable and thought-provoking.

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