The Michigan backyard of wildlife photographers Carl R. Sams II and Jean Stoick appears to be a busy place, full of deer, doves, turkeys and squirrels. Best known for their 1999 picture book, Stranger in the Woods, the husband-and-wife team transforms their stunning nature photography into beloved children’s books by imagining the sweet, funny dialogue between different woodland creatures.
In their latest book, A Magical Winter, the forest animals anticipate the arrival of another stranger. Against a backdrop of freshly fallen snow, the animals squabble over the mysterious creature until it finally arrives: an all-white, blue-eyed deer that appears to be made of snow. But Mother Doe kindly lets everyone know there’s no reason to worry: “He’s one of my three fawns. He is not made of snow . . . he is not going to melt.” When a white turkey also appears, the animals wonder if their woods are enchanted, which is a good reason to celebrate. They parade and party until spring; after all, parties are more fun when everyone is accepted, regardless of physical differences.
Children will love discovering the magic of this backyard, while dreaming up stories for their own.