Leaf Trouble by Jonathan Emmett, illustrated by Caroline Jayne Church
Pip, the squirrel, lives in an oak tree and knows that tree very well. But something has been happening so slowly that he never noticed: the leaves have changed color and are starting to fall off! Pip runs around and tries to catch all of the leaves, he and his sister gather them into a big pile, and then they try to reattach some. That doesn’t work, of course, but his mother appears then and explains about the tree needing to rest over the winter. She then explains that the leaves are like the setting sun each evening, disappearing but returning in the morning. The book ends with the young squirrels comparing the reds and yellows of the leaves with the colors of the sunset.
I have read many picture books over the years about children and animals panicking when leaves start to fall from the trees. But this one deserves a spot on your library shelves because of the intelligent tie-in with the setting sun. Children will immediately understand the connection to something they experience each and every day.
Emmett has written this in a voice that should be read aloud. His prose has depth, humor and a nice cadence. The first paragraph of the book is inviting, clever, and sets the tone nicely for the rest to come. Church’s illustrations are perfect for the seasonal tone of the book. Done with paper art, they are filled with tumbling bright-colored leaves that have a dimension and shadow to them. They will work well with a large group of children because of their size and color.
A great combination of author and illustrator, this autumnal title will have you falling for it immediately. Appropriate for ages 3-5.
Reviewed from library copy.