Autumn Leaves

Ken Robbins, Author, Ken Robbins, Illustrator Scholastic Press $15.95 (40p) ISBN 978-0-590-29879-7
Robbins's (the Elements series) striking photo-essay will prove indispensable for fall nature walks. In effect, it is an album of autumn leaves, shown life-size and in their changing colors; Robbins has veered from his characteristic medium of tinted photographs and instead transmitted these photos as is, making his subjects as recognizable as possible. On most double spreads, silhouette photographs in pristine focus share white space with a photograph of the tree from which the leaves actually come (birch, gingko, linden, sassafras, etc.), sun-dappled and situated in splendid natural landscapes. (It would have been helpful had the author specified general geographic regions.) Some of the leaves are not perfect, e.g., shown with holes gnawed by insects, which adds an endearing touch. The accompanying text is simply worded and informative: ""All leaves have veins. The veins of some leaves are quite easy to see."" The last page offers a short explanation of photosynthesis, employing correct scientific terms for the chemicals that make the leaves turn colors, i.e., chlorophyll and anthocyanin. Robbins's work demonstrates his careful observation and reverence for nature. The clarity of the format will prove both a joy for young students and a boon for teachers. Ages 2-5. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/31/1998
Release date: 09/01/1998
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