kate and pippin

Kate & Pippin: An Unlikely Love Story by Martin Springett, illustrated by Isobel Springett

When Pippin, a fawn, is abandoned by her mother, photographer Isobel Springett found her crying for help.  She took Pippin home and placed her by Kate their old Great Dane.  The two immediately bonded:  Pippin thought she had found a new mother and Kate started to mother her even though she had never raised any puppies of her own.  Pippin learned to drink from a bottle and when she got bigger started to adventure outside.  One evening, Pippin disappeared into the forest and didn’t return for bedtime.  Kate was very concerned, but the next morning Pippin came back just in time for breakfast.  Pippin returned to the woods every night after that, returning to the farm almost every morning to eat and play.  As she grew into an adult deer, she still continued to return to visit Kate and play.  She even still comes into the house once in awhile for a visit. 

This is one of the most lovely picture books about a relationship with a wild animal that I have seen.  I especially appreciate that Pippin was allowed to continue to be a wild deer, returning to the forest and being allowed to create a relationship on her own terms.  It’s definitely refreshing to see.  Here the human and dog were able to rescue, aid but also step back and not absorb this little creature.  The relationship that emerges is breathtakingly touching, seeped in fragility yet incredibly strong.

A large part of the success here are the photographs of this tiny deer bonding with the enormous dog.  By the end of the book, the animals are the same size.  It is clear that both of them adore one another on a deep level, and one that is delightfully separate from the humans. 

This nonfiction picture book reads like fiction, making it a great pick for a touch of nonfiction in a story time.  It’s a story that children will relate to easily and naturally.  Appropriate for ages 4-7.

Reviewed from copy received from Henry Holt and Company.