Friday, July 06, 2012

Makin' Friends: Kate and Pippin: An Unlikely Love Story by Martin and Isobel Springett

The fawn lay still and quiet.

She was alone and afraid as she waited for her mother to come back....

The motherless fawn had waited for three days, growing weaker, until a rescuer came, an improbably one, in the form of Kate, a huge, black Great Dane, who heard her hungry cries and found her.

Quickly Kate fetched her owner, Isobel Springett, and soon the little fawn had a new name, a bottle of warm sheep's milk, and a bed in the kitchen, cuddled against the comforting warmth of her new canine foster mother. Although Kate had never had puppies, her maternal instincts made her a fine surrogate, and little Pippin, as she was named, began to thrive in a most unusual habitat for a young white-tailed deer.

A friend in need is a friend indeed, says the old saying, and as that earlier photo essay, Owen & Mzee: The True Story of a Remarkable Friendship, demonstrated, the pull of friendship is stronger than instinct, stronger than species. Love conquers all, and Martin and Isobel's latest photo story, Kate & Pippin: An Unlikely Love Story (Henry Holt, 2012) proves that a huge dog, bred to run down deer and elk for hunters, can take over the nurture of a fawn quite well.

Pippen grows, learns to graze for herself, and plays amazing games with her big friend, losing her baby spots as her size finally equals Kate's, and eventually sallies forth from the farmyard to make her way in the forest. But amazingly, the bonds of friendship remain, so that she returns for their lively play sessions frequently, never forgetting her canine foster mother. Isobel Springett's lovely photos of the improbable friendship are charming and moving, and critter-loving young readers will find this new story satisfying reading.

"A fine addition to nonfiction collections and useful for themed storytimes on friendships," says School Library Journal.

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