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Monday, September 19, 2016

Wonderfall, written and illustrated by Michael Hall. Greenwillow Books, Harper. 2016. $21.99 ages 4 and up


I've got
the spot
for this

Tat boom,
tat boom,
tat boom!"

It is an oak tree that acts as poet for this delightful new offering from the incomparable Michael Hall. The tree spends each fall day carefully considering life and the events that happen in its vicinity. It is a 'peacefall' and plentifall' existence.

There are 15 poems that take a young audience slowly, and with joy, through the changes wrought by cooler weather. Time moves slowly and our senses are heightened by the sound of the wind and the acorns dropping, before our eyes take note of a school bus and energetic squirrels gathering those acorns for winter sustenance. A farmer gathering apples, the leaves turning color, people wearing warmer clothing and a football parade are other sure signs that the season is rapidly changing. Halloween is just around the corner.


cats and
and goblins.
the streets
to you ...


The text is spare, the scenes gorgeous ... a testament to the real beauty of the season. Mr. Hall's 'digitally rendered images incorporate textures created with acrylic paint and soft pastels'. If you are familiar with his brilliant work from previous books, you will not be surprised to see bold colors, mainly white backgrounds, and warm tones. Animals play a major role in the scenes, as do those people who take on the tasks of harvest and clean-up. You know what is surely on the horizon as the autumn world quiets down!

Back matter includes short paragraphs concerning the animals, the acorns and the tree as they prepare themselves throughout the fall for winter's cold, leaving readers with much to consider and discuss as the book comes to an end.

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