cover image One Leaf Fell

One Leaf Fell

Toby Speed. Stewart, Tabori, & Chang, $14.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-1-55670-271-6

Elaborate illustrations and an essentially flat text follow the fate of an apparently indestructable leaf. First it ``tumbles down a hillside and into a gully''; later, fish jump over it, beetles ride it, a horse drinks from it, a rabbit hides beneath it. Eventually, it lines a bird's nest in a tree--whence it falls yet again, bringing this circular story to completion. The plot will doubtless be familiar to elementary school creative-writing students, but the story makes no real point--if it aims to induce readers to examine nature, how is it that the leaf remains virtually impervious to wind, rain, time, etc.? Employing an unsettling palette, McIntyre's restless paintings of intricate foregrounds against impressionistic, brewing clouds energize the wind-tossed leaf, but they can be disjointed--in a few spreads the leaf is simply lost. It's an unfortunate collaboration--McIntyre's sophistication makes Speed's text seem unaccomplished and banal. Ages 5-up. (Sept.)