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Leavesby David Ezra Stein
Synopses & Reviews
It's a young bear's first autumn, and the falling leaves surprise him. He tries to put them back on the trees, but it doesn't work. Eventually, he gets sleepy, and burrows into the fallen leaves for a long nap. When he wakes up, it's spring and there are suddenly brand-new leaves all around, welcoming him.
Graceful illustrations and a childlike main character offer the perfect way to talk to children about the wonder of the changing seasons.
"Stein's (Cowboy Ned and Andy) pen-and-ink illustrations conjure a place readers will wish they could visit, a tiny island that pokes up out of a bay. Drawn in mossy greens and golds, the island is home to a very young bear — so young that when the leaves start falling in the autumn, he's a little shocked: 'He tried to catch them and put them back on... but it was not the same.' The bear doesn't despair; he grows sleepy, goes off to hibernate and wakes in the spring. This set of events is depicted in a series of panels trained on the entrance to the bear's den; the single tree above it loses its leaves, is blanketed by snow, and receives visits first by a rabbit and then by a pair of cardinals.) Eventually the bear sticks his head back out to greet the spring sunshine and spies the tiny buds on the trees. ' 'Welcome!' he cried. And, he thought, the leaves welcomed him.' Many things contribute to the success of Stein's tale: the joyously colored panels that hang on the pages like paintings — more intimate, somehow, than double-page spreads — the island's eight trees and their leaves, which seem lively and animate and entirely worthy of friendship; the innocence of the bear; and Stein's willingness to let the story assume its own haiku-like shape. His autumnal pictures seem to glow, while the bear himself has the irresistible appeal of a well-loved toy. All ages." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Occasionally a picture book comes along that is so poignant and so comforting at the same time that you just want to nab your child's copy for yourself: William Steig's 'Yellow and Pink,' Anne Mazer's 'The Salamander Room,' Molly Bang's 'Yellow Ball,' Peter McCarty's 'Hondo and Fabian.' Now there's 'Leaves.' The words are minimal, a sprinkling per page. 'It was his first year,' it begins — 'he' being... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review) a wide-eyed brown bear cub living on a sunny island. 'Everything was going well until the first leaf fell.' Oh, my. Was the leaf okay? Should he put it back? More leaves fall. He watches them, grows sleepy, gathers them up, stuffs them into a hole and crawls in. Snow covers the little island. Waking in the spring, the bear 'felt the sun and saw the little buds on the bare arms of the trees and the tiny leaves that had begun to unfold,' old friends now. Stein knows what kids fall for. While the text is solemn — fittingly for such a majestic theme as the seasonal cycle — he keeps the pictures, done with bamboo pen and watercolors, utterly lighthearted and sweet. Elizabeth Ward can be reached at warde(at symbol)washpost.com." Reviewed by lan Coopermanlan Coopermanlan Coopermanlan CoopermanJonathan YardleyJon MeachamSimon Sebag MontefioreStephen AmidonGary KristEliza McGrawEliza McGrawEliza McGrawEliza McGrawSarah L. CourteauRobert PinskyElizabeth WardElizabeth Ward, Washington Post Book World (Copyright 2006 Washington Post Book World Service/Washington Post Writers Group)
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"To Bear, in his first year, everything is new. He lives on a tiny island with a few trees, flowers, berries, and butterflies, and he dances with joy — until he sees a leaf fall to the ground. He wonders, "Are you okay?" More leaves fall. "He tried to catch them and put them back on . . . but it was not the same." As he watches the leaves fall and blanket the ground, he grows sleepy, finds a cave-like hole, fills it with leaves, and burrows into it to sleep away the winter. In spring, he joyfully welcomes the tiny leaves unfolding on the trees. The narrative works seamlessly with the freewheeling, expressive artwork. Created with bamboo pen, the energetic, sensitive drawings are tinted with subtle shades of color. Just as Stein uses white space effectively in the art, he uses "white space" well in the spare, precise text, leaving some details for children to notice in the pictures alone, such as how the leaves have been stuck back on the trees by spearing them onto the living twigs. Teachers will find this picture book a natural for curriculum units on leaves or hibernation, and children will enjoy seeing fall anew through the eyes of a big-hearted character more innocent than themselves. Wonderfully simple and simply wonderful for sharing with children." Booklist, starred review
Caldecott Honor winner David Ezra Steins lively tale is a fantastic read-aloud, and feisty Mama Squirrel will have fierce mamas everywhere applauding!
Ol Mama Squirrel has raised lots of babies, and she knows just how to protect them. Whenever trouble comes nosing around, she springs into action with a determined Chook, chook, chook!” and scares trouble away. Her bravery is put to the test, however, when a really big threat wanders into town and onto her tree. But no matter what, Mamas not about to back down!
About the Author
David Ezra Stein is also the author and illustrator of Cowboy Ned and Andy. He lives in Kew Gardens, New York.
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