Two weeks prior to the first scene in the book, Grandpa learns the doctors have done everything possible to rid him of his cancer. Doctors give him a few months to live. This devastates his grandson John. John came to live with his grandparents on their farm in northern Minnesota after the death of his parents in a plane crash when he was four.
John deals with the upsetting news of his grandfather’s illness by spending more time working on the farm. He enjoys the sense of accomplishment he feels when the work is done. John works not only to help his grandpa but to have some alone time to deal with the upsetting news.
One day when John is spreading manure on the field, he sees a small doe. He is blown away by her beauty and writes a poem to remember the experience. A few days later, deer season begins. John is not as excited as usual about hunting because this year he must go hunting alone without Grandpa.
John sets out before sunrise and heads down to the swamp. He walks right past a deer startling her from her sleeping nest. John tracks the deer. When he finally gets her in the sight of his rifle, John realizes that she is the same doe he had seen days earlier at the farm. John hesitates shooting something so beautiful. The doe bounds away.
John begins tracking the doe. After a day and night of tracking, John realizes that he can’t kill the doe. He just wants to touch her. John thinks that by giving life to the deer, his grandfather will also be granted life…
Read Tracker to see if John is able to actually touch a wild creature and if this cures his grandfather.
Book Unit Samples
This pdf contains novel study samples including:
- Vocabulary Practice for Chapter 1
- Comprehension Questions for Chapters 1-2
- Constructed Response Question for Chapters 1-2
Teaching Idea #1 – White-Tailed Deer versus Reindeer
Have students complete a Venn diagram comparing the similarities and differences between the white-tailed deer and reindeer. This makes a great anchor chart activity in November and December when both deer season and Christmas are near/going on. See an example Venn diagram on this page on my website.
Teaching Idea #2 – Decorated Door
Our school has several door-decorating contests throughout the year. In the fall, teachers decorate their doors based on their favorite college football team.
This door was created as part of the winter door decorating contest. Click here to see other winter decorating projects.
Teaching Idea #3 – Writing an Animal Report
Check out the newly revised section of my website featuring student reports on various animals including deer. This was a great project for my students. First students used a template to research specific facts about their animals. The facts were turned into a short research paper. Students dressed up as their animals and had a ‘zoo-like museum.’ Students answered questions about their animals as parents walked through. Students performed a little skit [the reason for the whistles some students are wearing] and refreshments were served. Learn more about this project at the link below.