Leaf Man Review

Leaf ManLois Ehlert’s books are exquisitely unique. Her artwork embraces techniques beyond that of a traditional paint and brush. She was awarded a Caldecott Honor for Color Zoo, showing that the simplest of shapes can make for the most delightful creatures.

Paging through any of her books is a pleasure, as there are always new details to discover. One book that my children and I particularly love is Leaf Man. Not only does it contain playful artwork in the form of intricate leaves that change into all sorts of animals and foods but thinking and wondering about where a leaf floats to on its journey could leave anyone daydreaming for hours.

Ms. Ehlert not only expands on what is traditionally thought of as artwork in children’s books, but in Leaf Man, the tops of the pages are cut to reveal different layers of scenery.  Little hands are sure to take great care and notice these special page turns.

Reading and re-reading and simply poring over the pages is a large part of the enjoyment here.  But, there are some concepts/questions that can be explored too such as the one posed in the book: “When Leaf Man looks down on earth, is he lonesome for a home?”  This might lead to a discussion of some differences in their lives between enjoying solitude and being lonely that could be prompted by the following: Tell me about a time when you enjoyed being alone. Tell me about a time when you felt lonely. What made these times different? As adults we know that being lonely is an emotion we experience most often by ourselves but can also be felt even when we’re around others or that loneliness can creep up on us at times when just minutes before we were happy to be alone. However, kids are new to figuring out how the feelings of peaceful solitude and loneliness might function in their lives and might benefit from sharing their thoughts on it. In addition, I think any child who has experienced moving around a lot might be able to identify with Leaf Man—it can be wildly exciting to go to new places, but that aspect of “blowing around” and not having “roots” can also feel lonesome.

Because children love to use their imaginations, ask them to pretend that they are a Leaf Girl or Boy and then ask: Where would you want to go?  What would you want to see? Smell? Hear? Touch? Taste?  What would you want to do?  Maybe your Little Leaf Boy or Girl doesn’t want to go anywhere because he or she is scared to leave home—and that’s good information to build from as well.

Another reason I am quite fond of Ms. Ehlert is that she lives in Milwaukee, WI. Having been a Milwaukeean (and to a great extent still consider myself), it’s always a treat to hear of the successes of others who you could potentially run into at the grocery store. I was never lucky enough to do so, but my mother had the pleasure of meeting her and Ms. Ehlert is as kind as her books are enjoyable.

The last line—encouraging others to take home a Leaf Man—is not just meant for kids, as Ms. Ehlert herself says in her author’s note that she cannot resist picking up a beautiful leaf. Before reading this book, I didn’t have an urge to pick up and examine leaves, because they were “just leaves” to me, but now my kids and I are always on the lookout for a Leaf Man to bring home. Exploring your surrounding might then lead to your family creating in exquisitely unique ways because sometimes you have to just “…go where the wind blows.”

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10 thoughts on “Leaf Man Review

  • Rebecca

    I am so excited to have found your site through the Kid Lit Blog Hop. It’s just exquisite to find someone who not only appreciates children’s lit, but can write beautifully about it. I hope you’ll check out Ehlert’s biography The Scraps Book, too. I reviewed it on my site awhile back. Sharing you with my (small group of) followers! :-)

    • Liz Cave Post author

      Rebecca, your comments are so appreciated and put a huge smile on my face! Thanks as well for sharing my website with others :) We enjoyed Ehlert’s Scraps Book very much. It’s such a treat to find such a relatable autobiography and I look forward to reading your review on it.

  • Reshama

    Unlike me, my daughter almost always picks up leaves. So at this time of the year she is so fascinated by the falling leaves and colors changing. Two days back we stepped out in the morning and our yard was covered with fallen leaves. She simply looked out and said “wow”. :) Thanks for sharing the review on KidLitBlogHop this week.
    -Reshama

    • Liz Cave Post author

      Thank you Reshama for your comments :) Every time I see the world through a child’s eyes, I find many “wows” that previously I passed by without noticing.

    • Liz Cave Post author

      I’m so happy you guys loved it as much as we do, Renee :) Lois Ehlert’s books truly inspire the desire gather and create. Thanks for popping by–the Kid Lit Blog Hop community is such a wonderful and supportive group of children’s book lovers!

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