cover image Oak Leaf

Oak Leaf

John Sandford. Cameron Kids, $16.95 (40p) ISBN 978-1-944903-73-2

“Spinning, spiraling, tumbling... Circling, fluttering, falling.” Using simple descriptive language and swirling scenery, Sandford depicts the windblown journey of a leaf from the branches of an oak tree to a resting place between the pages of a book. Perspectives tilt in a series of richly hued illustrations, reflecting the leaf’s movement through a series of adventures—dodging the mouth of a fox, catching a gust of air from a passing train, drifting past a cattle farm, and passing maple trees, chilly lakes, lofty clouds, and soaring geese, until finally, the leaf pauses, then drops “down through clouds... Down to a colorful city below.” The fantastical narrative serves as a framing device for Sandford’s scenic illustrations. His impressionistic style and use of saturated, creamy tones effectively captures landscapes and animals, but style stumbles in the final spreads; the child who catches the fluid, interesting leaf feels awkwardly rendered in comparison, breaking the book’s fragile spell. Ages 5–7. [em](Sept.) [/em]