Monday, January 23, 2012

A Leaf Can Be ... a review

Salas, Laura Purdie. 2012. A Leaf Can Be ... . Illustrated by Violeta Dabija. Minneapolis: Millbrook.
Advance Reader Copy supplied by NetGalley.

What's better than a beautifully illustrated nonfiction picture book? One that can be used to delight preschoolers, introduce poetry, or present science concepts. A Leaf Can Be... does it all.

Introductory stanzas give way to descriptive phrases of a leaf's many uses and manifestations,
A leaf is a leaf -
a bit of a tree.
But when cool days come chasing,
it also can be a ...

Wind rider
Lake glider
Pile grower
Hill grow-er
The font is simple and pleasing, like printing with a fine point gel pen.

The illustrations, depicting each thing that "a leaf can be," are nothing less than enchanting.  Blue is the color that anchors this journey through seasons and  locales - posing as the sky, a lake, a hint of frost, the rainwater gathered in the palm of a leaf. Though whimsically drawn, the trees, people and animals in Dabija's paintings are rendered in the colors of nature - not the muted colors of nature, but nature in its most vibrant, most spectacular displays. Her use of "speckling" gives each illustration a hint of magic or fancy.
Also included are:

  • "Glossary"
  • "Further Reading."
  • "More About Leaves," in which each descriptive tree phrase used throughout the book is explained, 
Mouth filler - leaves can be tasty!  Apes, giraffes, insects and many other animals eat leaves.  Humans do too.  Have you eaten lettuce or spinach lately?
Highly recommended. It's early in the year, but I think this will be a favorite!

Manufactured in the United States of America.

Check Laura Purdie Salas' site for a teaching guide and bookmarks, coming soon.

Due on shelves March 1, 2012. (You can request it now on NetGalley from Lerner Publishing.  Don't read this one on a black and white reader!)
It's Nonfiction Monday and I'm today's host.  
Please leave your link below and visit the other links. If you have trouble using Inlinkz, leave your link in the comments and I will add it to today's roundup.

  Thanks for participating in today's Nonfiction Monday roundup.

Today's guests include:
Don't forget! You can watch the ALA Youth Media Awards announcements live from Dallas today, beginning at 7:30 am.


  1. Hi! Just in case my link didn't get through - here it is:

    Stand Straight, Ella Kate: The True Story of a Real Giant by the Klise sisters. :) Thank you for hosting this week!

  2. Thanks for hosting today! I have never had to choose a thumbnail before! I should have chosen the cover of the book though. I goofed!


  3. Lisa, thank you for hosting this week!


  4. Brenda,
    You can edit your link if you'd like. Lisa

  5. Thanks for hosting today.

    I reviewed A Leaf Can Be... today, too. I think it will be a favorite as well.

    Now to go watch the ALA :-)

  6. What a beautiful book and our church's preschool will love it!

  7. Thanks for looking after today's event. I've reviewed Baby Mammoth Mummy at Apples with Many Seeds.

  8. Thanks so much for including my book, Star of the Sea: A Day in the Life of a Starfish, in Nonfiction Monday. Happy Reading to All!

  9. Thanks for hosting.
    My selection celebrates Chinese New Year with "Dragon New Year: a Chinese legend" written by David Bouchard with paintings by Zhong-Yang Huang.

  10. Thank you, Lisa--I'm so glad you like A LEAF CAN BE... I appreciate your featuring it on the day you're hosting! I'm bad at describing art, and I enjoyed your observations about Violeta's gorgeous work.

  11. Thanks to all of you for joining in the roundup today! Lisa

  12. I really appreciate this post. I have been looking everywhere for this! Thank goodness I found it on Bing. You've made my day! Thx again
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