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Children’s book comes to life

December 10, 2007

Michigan photographers release third ‘photographic fantasy’ book

By Kristen Miller
Staff Writer

Take a walk through the woods this winter and enjoy all nature has to offer in “First Snow in the Woods,” the third book in the “Woods” series.

Initially, Michigan photographers Carl R. Sams II and Jean Stoick caught readers’ attention with their first children’s book, “Stranger in the Woods.”

This book captivates children of any age with detailed photography of animals of the woods up close and personal.

The “Stranger” in the woods is a foreign creature to the white-tailed deer, who have made the woods their home.

Sams and Stoick photographed the deer as they investigated the “stranger,” who just so happened to be a snowman.

Captured on film are other woods creatures such as the Chickadee, the Blue Jay, the Cardinal, the owl, a porcupine, and much more.

The story expresses what each animal is thinking about this “stranger” in their woods.

The photographs depict each animal with character in their own natural habitat. The photography, alone, makes this book a winner in my eyes. It’s no wonder it is a New York Times best seller.

Next in the series is “Lost in the Woods,” which tells the story of a fawn found all alone in the woods.

The book journeys a young fawn as he spends his first weeks without his mother in the spring-green forest. Mama deer knows instinctively to only stay with her fawn long enough to nurse and care for it. This is done as a way for the mother to protect her offspring from predators since her scent attracts them.

While alone in the woods, the fawn is able to make new friends including red-winged blackbirds, a fat-cheeked chipmunk, a raccoon, and more.

The third and recently released book, “First Snow in the Woods,” is as beautiful as the first two books in the series, except this captures the spectacular colors of fall and the anticipation of the first snowfall. The fawn doesn’t see it that way though. He doesn’t know what winter is and he is scared of the changing season.

“We hope children will learn that change – and sometimes fear of change – is a normal part of life. We all have to listen to our heart song,” said co-author Jean Stoick.

All of the books are labeled, “A Photographic Fantasy,” which is undoubtedly true for this series.

Sams and Stoick have been photographing nature in its truest form since 1982, and have taken more than 400,000 images. Their main subject has been the white-tailed deer.

“Sharing photos and stories with children is their way of fostering love and appreciation of the outdoors, with hope that the next generation will help to preserve all of nature’s treasures,” according to the book’s coverlet.

I love photography, especially candid photos of some of nature’s cutest animals. Sams and Stoick are amazing photographers and allow the reader to feel as if they are right there in the midst of all the animals.

I grew up the daughter of a bird lover. Some of America’s prettiest songbirds fly across the pages and into the readers’ hearts in each of these books.

As Minnesotans, we know how plentiful white-tailed deer are. Although, it’s not too often we get to see them so content and relaxed in their home like one can in these books. The white-tailed deer is the common denominator in all three of these colorful books.

There is a book for each of the seasons. A person can pull out “Stranger in the Woods” and display it proudly on the coffee table for guests to appreciate all winter long.

For a spring inspiration, bring out “Lost in the Woods.” Then, in the fall, bring out “First Snow in the Woods.”

The first snowstorm is full of excitement, and this book captures that anticipation. It also portrays the uneasiness that may come with the onset of winter, as well.

No matter how cold winter can get, these two photographers capture it in all its beauty. They make it hard not to appreciate the wonder and beauty of the season.

The three-book series will make a great Christmas gift. I bought “Stranger in the Woods” for my mother one Christmas.

Readers of every age will enjoy the stories and photographs in the “Woods” series.

It makes me want to bundle up, grab my camera, and sit and wait patiently in the woods.

For more information about these books or to order wildlife prints from Sams and Stoick, check out www.strangerinthewoods.com.