cover image LUCKY LEAF


Kevin O'Malley, . . Walker, $15.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-8027-8924-2

O'Malley (Straight to the Pole) comes out with a new seasonally appropriate adventure starring an obstinate protagonist. Rendered in semi-comic book style with digitally colored ink outlines and text balloons, the opening scenes portray a boy sitting on an oversize armchair, playing a video game ("I'm beating level 20!" he cries, maniacally), when an unseen parent yells, "Okay, mister. Turn it off. Get outside and play." After protesting to no avail, the boy and his dog head into the breezy fall afternoon. Enormous, puffy clouds roll across the sky and fiery leaves illuminate trees and the ground beneath them—all met by the boy's pithy synopsis, "Stupid outside." He runs into two friends who share his fate, and they come upon a tree with one leaf remaining—a leaf that, they agree, will be lucky to whomever catches it. Frame after frame passes, and eventually the other boys give up. Buried under a pile of leaves ("I think it knows we're here. Let's hide," he tells his dog), the boy—with his pet's help—pops up in time for the lucky prize to land on his cap. A final twist shows that the boy's persistence does not result, appropriately enough, from a newfound appreciation of nature's glory. O'Malley delivers another triumph for the kids who have to be dragged kicking and screaming away from their action figures and video games. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)