Leaf Man

Albert Whitman. Mar. 2019. 32p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780807544167.
Gr 1-4–Drawing its inspiration from the European folktale,”Green Man”, this poetic rendition features a young boy who discovers a field of stumps in a felled forest. Instead of giving in to his disappointment, he fashions a friend made of what is left behind. His leaf man accompanies him through more adventures, dreams, embarrassments, and letdowns. The final page shows the forest and boy growing tall again and the once lost leaf man comes back to him. While the verse contains many poignant truths about sadness and coping, and the illustrations are lush and evocative, the message borders on trivializing real hardships children face. While the construction of a leaf doll that eventually falls apart in the wind is a romantic metaphor for adults who grasp the fleeting nature of time and the power of renewal and hope, these themes make this a rather problematic picture book.
VERDICT A secondary addition, possibly for therapy, in much older children.

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