Leaves by David Ezra Stein

Stein, David Ezra. Leaves. New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 2007.
Cover of "Leaves" by David Ezra Stein

Plot:  A young bear wonders at the falling leaves.

Setting: Autumn on a wooded island

Point of View: 3rd person

Theme: autumn, fall, leaves, bears, wonder, curiosity, seasons, hibernation, woods, worry

Literary Quality: With spare, simple text this story captures all the curiosity, concern, frustration, and inevitable sleepiness of a toddler. When the leaves begin to fall during the bear’s first year of life, he wonders whether they’re okay. “He tried to catch them and put them back on…but it was not the same.” Eventually, the bear uses the leaves to make a bed and go to sleep while winter comes. When the bear, who is never named or even described as a bear in the text, welcomes the new leaves of spring, we rejoice with him on the top of his hill in the lovely small world that seems so big to him. The bear’s actions are illustrated with watercolors rich in autumnal hues. The imperfect squares framing the illustrations add to the childlike sensibility of the book. This is a lovely story for the changing seasons, the falling leaves, and sleepyheads.

Audience: Ages 0-4. A great book for both one-on-one and storytime settings.

Personal reaction: I own the board book edition of Leaves, and it always makes me smile the whole way through. It is a dear little book that brings warmth to any chilly fall day. So cuddle up and read!

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