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Monday, November 18, 2013

A Leaf Can Be....written by Laura Purdie Salas and illustrated by Violeta Dabija. Millbrook Press, Lerner. 2012. $22.50 ages 4 and up

"A leaf is a leaf -
a bit of a tree.
But when cool days
come chasing,
it also can be...

Wind rider

Lake glider..."

Have you ever wondered about the wonder of a leaf?  I can't say that I have; although I have been awed by their beauty, their size and their color. Just looking at the many different leaves that found their way into my yard this fall made me stop in wonder. Now, Laura Purdie Salas has captured the many things a leaf can be in her lovely poetic book.

The rhyming text and beautiful language is sure to attract attention, and give the reader pause to consider the ways we use words for apt and unusual description. In sharing her ideas, Ms. Salas provides text that begs to be read repeatedly in order to savor the beauty of those words: 'soft cradle', 'frost catcher' and 'bat shelter' are but a few of them.

Each two-word descriptor is paired with a rhymed partner. They encourage you to close your eyes and imagine for yourself what they might look like. If you can't conjure a picture, you don't need to do that. Violeta Dabija has crafted illustrations using traditional and digital techniques that bring each pair of words to glorious life. They are filled with light, and the palette is ever-changing to evoke the beauty of their impressive surroundings.

 An appendix includes explanations for each of the phrases the author uses to describe leaves:

"Skin welter: Not all leaves are nice to touch. Poison ivy will cause red, itchy bumps - or welts - to form on skin.

Ground warmer: When fallen leaves cover the ground each autumn, they have a job to do. They help warm the ground below them for the winter. That helps the grass underneath survive until spring."

A glossary and a list of books for further reading are also included here.

Be on the lookout in April 2014 for Water Can Be... I know I will be!


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