*STEIN, David Ezra. Leaves. (Putnam 978-0-399-24636-4)
Simple, declarative sentences and expressive small-scale pictures blend beautifully in this sweet story about a young bear experiencing his first full cycle of seasons. Bamboo pen and earth-toned watercolors are used to great effect to depict the setting of a tiny island with a few trees. The serene scenes and streamlined story line reflect perfectly the gentle passage of time. The bear dances gracefully and happily as he picks flowers and absorbs the warmth of the sun: “Everything was going well.” Then the first autumn leaf drops, and he asks it, “Are you okay?” As leaves continue to fall, he leaps around trying to catch them; he even tries to reattach them to the branches. When he becomes sleepy, he carries a bunch of leaves to a hole and uses them to cover the entrance while he hibernates. Snow falls and blankets the ground; a fox trots by and a white rabbit peeks over the hillside. As yellow tones return to the sky, birds scratch for food in the melting snow. The bear looks out of his warm den and, when he sees the new green buds on the trees, he jumps out crying, “Welcome!” This introspective little gem exudes joy.
Can't wait till this comes out on August 16th!