Monday, January 16, 2017

First Deer, by Brian Gasiorowski, illustrated by Thomas Hilley

For a young hunter, there is no better memory than getting your first deer.  In First Deer, Brian Gasiorowski captures the joy and community of deer hunting.  Thirteen-year-old Joe has grown up around hunting, but this year's hunt will be extra special for Joe.

Gasiorowski builds up the anticipation as Joe watches the signs of the season leading up to hunting season.  We read about Joe's life on a farm in Tabernacle, New Jersey, see him interact with the friends and relatives who prepare for and gather for the hunt, and pray with him as he asks God for help getting a deer.  Thomas Hilley's illustrations look great and add a lot to each chapter.

First Deer centers around the deer drive.  Unlike hunters who sit in a deer blind or tree stand, waiting for deer to come by, in a deer drive one group of hunters walks through the woods driving the deer toward a second group of hunters who are poised to shoot.  The deer drive a hunting style full of tradition and community.  Gasiorowski's detailed play-by-play gives a great feel for what a deer drive hunt is like.  Joe is thrilled to be a part of the hunt, a rite of passage to manhood for him, topped off by shooting his first dear.

First Deer is the first book in Gasiorowski's "Sticker Burr Outdoors" series, which Gasiorowski is writing for boys to "learn about outdoor life while being molded into men of character."  These entertaining and highly readable books are suitable for mid-elementary kids up to teens.  Parents will be pleased with the positive tone and the wholesome values the characters exemplify.  At the end of the book, he includes "Ten Commandments for Sticker Burr Boys."  For more information about the series, and about Sticker Burr Outdoors clothing and gear, go to

Thanks to the author for the complimentary review copy!

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