Today’s review of another picture book comes from Jules of Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast. It’s called Leaves, by David Ezra Stein:
This is a lovely little poem of a picture book (or, as the Publishers Weekly review put it in their starred review, more like a "haiku-like shape," praising Stein for his willingness to let the story assume that form) all about the wonder of the ever-changing seasons and nature as viewed by an innocent, rather new-to-this-world bear.
"It was his first year," the book opens, the only text on our first double-page spread, showing us a bear on his little island of the forest with its dominant grassy greens and browns and a bit of yellow from the sun. In this first spread, we see two of Stein’s watercolor images bordered in a loose, relaxed black line (created with bamboo pen), as most of the images in the book are presented (Publishers Weekly wrote further, and I love this: "the joyously colored panels . . . hang on the pages like paintings—more intimate, somehow, than double-page spreads").
And there, on that first spread, is bear, simply taking in the wonder of a butterfly. "Everything was going well until the first leaf fell." (This is a spare text: That "Everything" gets its own, entire page, and there’s a line break there after "was going well"). Bear doesn’t understand and worries about the leaves, as even more fall over his island, Stein giving an entire wordless spread to the newly-emerging Fall while the bear watches.
Read the rest here.