Illustrated by Luanne Wrenn
Hardcover, $16.95, ISBN 978-0-88448-288-8
w9 x 10, 32 pages, color illustrations
"Evenhanded, straightforward, and filled with information, this thoughtful tale will doubtless be welcomed by parents and educators, particularly since little else is available on the topic of deer hunting . . . the very worthwhile message, that opposing viewpoints need not lead inevitably to hostility, is delivered clearly and concisely."
"A compellingly and skillfully presented story about friendship, Opening Day is enhanced with age appropriate information about deer habits and habitat, as well as tracking and hunting. A truly elegant story, Opening Day is as entertaining as it is thoughtful and a very strongly recommended addition to family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picturebook collections."
—The Midwest Book Review
"This is not simply a pro-hunting story disguised as a children's book. It's a solid look at the complicated issues surrounding consumptive sports, in general. It tackles the issue of the kill without taking sides. It is about friendship surviving a difference in value systems, about what the outdoor experience offers our youth, and how we can best pass that from generation to generation."
—Travis Barrett, Kennebec Journal
"Fellow Vermonter Susan Bartlett's story captures the spirit of rural life and the love of natural history it fosters."
—Jim Arnosky, author and illustrator of ninety-eight books for children
"Since people appeared on earth, they have hunted, and in its quietly charming and informative way this lovely little book illustrates why so many of us continue to hunt in an age of supermarkets and drive-through hamburgers. It began with a quest for food, but now as in our ancient past hunting has never been only about the food. It is how we became, and continue to become, ourselves."
—James R. Babb, Editor, Gray's Sporting Journal
Sam's best friend Eric loves to hunt. His whole family hunts—even his mom and grandmother. But Sam's mom is a vegetarian, and his dad prefers to buy his meat at the supermarket. Sam wants to make up his own mind, and with his parents' support he works hard to get his hunting license so he can join Eric and his dad for opening day. Although he feels great to be one of the crowd at the opening-day breakfast, once he sees a deer in the woods, he wonders if he really wants to shoot an animal. And if he decides hunting is not for him, will Eric still be his friend?
Susan Bartlett offers a sensitive story about friendship while also sharing accurate information about deer habits, tracking, and hunting. Opening Day celebrates the strength of a young man determined to be true to his feelings, as it acknowledges the generosity and kindness true friends share.
Luanne Wrenn's oil paintings pull readers into the misty cold of the fall woods as Sam and Eric scout for deer sign. Under her brush, the boys' friendship—as it weathers disappointment, concern, relief, and joy—is both tangible and beautiful.
Susan Bartlett is a children's book editor who worked for publishing houses in Boston and New York. In Vermont, where she now lives, she has edited books for both children and adults and taught Writing Books for Children for many years at the University of Vermont.
She is the author of Seal Island School, which won the Lupine Award in 2000 given by the Maine Libraries Association for the "best children's book about Maine," and The Seal Island Seven, both published by Viking.
Susan volunteers as a reading teacher at her local elementary school, supports land conservation and environmental causes, and travels to interesting places—from South Africa to New Zealand. She and her husband have an 1875 farmhouse on 200 acres of woods and fields, which they manage for wildlife and where they have raised chickens, pigs, horses, and have many flower and vegetable gardens.
Luanne Wrenn grew up in Michigan's cold and beautiful Upper Peninsula. In 1991 she moved to Wilton, Maine (also cold and beautiful), with her family. Luanne loved drawing and painting and nature as a child, and she pursued these interests through college, with degrees in Fine Arts and Science in Education.
As an arts educator Luanne shares her love of the arts with children. She enjoys painting in oil and watercolor and is a commissioned portrait and mural artist, as well as an illustrator.
Luanne asked many of her friends and neighbors in Wilton to pose for the illustrations in Opening Day and completed these paintings during hunting season—when this story could easily have taken place in her hometown.
Tilbury House, Publishers
103 Brunswick Avenue
Gardiner, Maine 04345
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