#102 – I Love You, Baby Deer by Linda Gilleland

 5 Stars

I Love You, Baby Deer is a poignant true story of how love, friendship, and trust blossomed between a beautiful young girl, Grace, and the orphaned baby deer she and her family took in and named Pineapple.  This story follows their adventures as Pineapple grows older with her newfound, loving family and best friend, Grace.

A deer and her child move from farm to field looking for food anywhere they can find it in the cold days.  One particular garden has the best food all year long, but also has a big building where people live.  When baby deer’s mother does not return from foraging one night, baby tries to make it on her own with little success.  Nearing complete exhaustion and famine, baby deer uses all of her might to get to the one garden that always fed them well.  She almost makes it there, passing out a little short of her goal.

Baby deer is one lucky deer.  Those people who live in the big building find baby deer and nurse her back to health.  Then one day a “little people” shows up and baby deer finds a best friend.  This little person is Grace, the homeowner’s grandchild.  Grace names baby deer Pineapple and the two start an enviable friendship.  Grace and Pineapple watch television together, play outside together, nap together.  Pineapple fit in well with other pets and even walked behind Grace and her animal friends as they paraded down the street for the enjoyment of all.  Grace and baby deer Pineapple were perfect playmates.

Every once in a while, a book comes along that simply tears at your heart.  I Love You, Baby Deer is that kind of book.  It is a picture book with wonderful illustrations, which help tell the story, especially for little ones.  What’s most amazing is this is a true story.  If there is any doubt, the author has placed a real picture of Grace and Pineapple at the end of the book.  Divided into ten chapters, each two or three pages long, the story can very easily be a bedtime tale.  It is written in a way that when read aloud, it sounds like grandma is telling a story, which I guess she is.  The author is Grace’s grandmother and witnessed this story firsthand.

Grace and Pineapple’s friendship is touching.  It is the kind of friendship we all long for and rarely find.  Pineapple feeling the call of the wild did not surprise me, yet when she answered that call, I was surprised that Grace never saw her leave.  I have wondered what happen next, when Grace noticed her best friend was gone, forever.  I have had an advanced copy of I Love You, Baby Deer for a while, just waiting until I could share it with everyone.  Children will love this story.  Parents will enjoy reading this story to their children.  A children’s book can’t get much better than that.  Too see the real Pineapple and Grace go HERE.

I Love You, Baby Deer

Author: Linda Gilleland
Illustrator: Leigh Ann Irish
Publisher: Brown Books Publishing Group
Publication Date: March 15, 2012
Number of Pages: 56
Ages: 4+
ISBN: 978-1-61254-025-2

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