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Fletcher and the Falling Leaves    by Julia Rawlinson & Tiphanie Beeke order for
Fletcher and the Falling Leaves
by Julia Rawlinson
Order:  USA  Can
Greenwillow, 2006 (2006)

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* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Daninhirsch

This charming picture book, perfect for autumn, celebrates friendship, the beauty of nature, and the life cycle of the seasons. I love the opening lines: 'The world was changing. Each morning, when Fletcher bounded out of the den, everything seemed just a little bit different. The rich green of the forest was turning to a dusty gold, and the soft, swishing sound of summer was fading to a crinkly whisper.'

Fletcher the fox marvels at the world around him. When the leaves on his favorite tree begin to turn brown, he expresses his concerns to his mother, thinking that the tree is sick. He tries to comfort the tree, telling him what his mother told him, that it was only autumn and he will be feeling better soon. Of course, autumn progresses, and soon the tree's leaves begin to fall. Fletcher really panics this time; he tries to return the falling leaves to the branches, but of course, he is unable to control nature. He becomes indignant when other forest creatures begin to take the falling leaves for their own use, such as a blanket for a porcupine.

In an endearing scene, Fletcher protects the one remaining leaf on the tree, staying with it all day, covering it with his body. But alas, the wind blows it away. Fletcher takes the leaf home and tucks it into its very own bed. Once winter arrives, Fletcher witnesses a beautiful sight, and then he finally understands the purpose of the falling leaves. The soft watercolors in Fletcher and the Falling Leaves add to the book's charm, and the final glittery illustration tops off a nearly perfect picture book.

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