The Very Last Leaf

Capstone. Aug. 2020. 32p. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9781684461042.
PreS-Gr 2–Lance the cottonwood leaf is a phenomenal student who excels at everything—budding, wind resistance, photosynthesis, and pigment changing. He is always at the top of his class. However, Lance begins to worry as his final exam in falling off the tree in autumn approaches. He is afraid of landing in unwelcoming places and hangs on until he is the very last leaf. Lance’s teacher and classmates reassure him and, nervously, Lance eventually takes the leap. A confidence-boosting picture book for early childhood and elementary students, this illustrates that even the most confident and seemingly successful people have vulnerabilities. Lance learns to be comfortable with his authentic self and lets go of his fears and insecurities—his schooling has prepared him for this. Lance and the other leaves are large and prominent in the warm gold, green, and brown autumnal scenes, personifying all of the angst and bravado of the elementary school scene.
VERDICT A great choice for addressing social emotional development in the areas of anxiety and perfectionism, and as a bonus, scientific facts about Lanceleaf Cottonwoods are included.

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