When a Mongolian elder named Gree Shrek hunts a female moose by mistake, her young calf is left behind. Saddened by her loss, Gree Shrek names the calf Xiao Han (“Little Moose”) and the moose and man form an authentic attachment. Xiao Han accompanies Gree Shrek as the hunter-gatherer herds reindeer, sets up camp, forages for food in the forest, and visits his peoples’ village, where many fun adventures happen. But as the little moose grows bigger, Gree Shrek knows he must return his companion to the forest.
We try to have books to represent all different cultures at the library, but I think it's safe to say we haven't had any about the indigenous people of Mongolia. My guess is that children will have many questions both during and after this book (don't reindeer come from Finland?), so there is great opportunity for further exploration here.
The story itself is thoughtful, at times humorous, at times sad, but always with an overlying quiet. That quiet may come from the sense of the vast wilderness, or from the subdued but intricate illustrations. This is the perfect addition to a collection that needs "something different".
Gifting Ideas: Pair it with a moose, of course! Probably not a real one, but maybe a stuffed moose, a puppet, or even a sponsorship of a real one. You can click here to sponsor a moose in Alaska, or here to sponsor one through the World Wildlife Fund.