cover image Leaf Man

Leaf Man

Lois Ehlert. Harcourt, $16 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-15-205304-8

Ehlert (Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf ) returns to one of her favorite themes—the rainbow beauty of autumn leaves—for this refreshing riff on leaf peeping and collecting. A narrator recalls the Leaf Man that used to live nearby but recently blew away with the wind. "He left no travel plans." From that breezy beginning, the narrator imagines the different flight patterns the Leaf Man may have followed "past the chickens, toward the marsh,... over the prairie meadows,... past the spotted cows," and punctuates the lyrical text with an occasional refrain ( "a Leaf Man's got to go where the wind blows "). All the while, Ehlert sparks her foliage flight of fancy with her snazzy leaf collages. Fiery maple, brown mottled catalpa and bright yellow ginko leaves take the shape of various animals and objects on each spread. The boldly colored background papers, of varying texture, make the leaves pop. And, in the type of clever book design for which Ehlert is known, the pages are die-cut and/or patchworked at the top to create a rolling, flowing effect throughout. Endpapers serve as a labeled field guide to leaf varieties and an author's note expresses Ehlert's passion for her subject, and describes her art technique. After this visual feast, young nature lovers are sure to look with fresh eyes as they walk through the woods. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)