We recently got O a bundle of new books for bedtime, from Waterstones, and amongst them was one of the most beautiful and meaningful books I’ve ever seen.
Leaf, by Sandra Dieckmann (Author and Illustrator), is a simple story about a Polar Bear who washes up on the shore of the Wild Wood. All the animals that live there, instantly fear and avoid him, but they silently watch him everyday as he collects leaves, hence the name they give him, until one day, they see him do something incredible. Slowly, they find the courage to speak to him and ask the Polar bear his story.
At the heart of the book, there are a number of simple, but important messages hidden within its story – Loneliness, teaching out to outsiders and Globalwarming. Leaf collects leaves to make himself wings to fly home to his family, who he was separated from because of the melting ice. It’s is a good way to open the eyes of children, and to teach them about todays issues without lecturing them or thrusting information down their small throats. The messages are conveyed through the eyes of a sad, lonely polar bear.
Depeding on the child’s age and development it can create questions about why the ice has melted, how Leaf got separated from his family and what could be done to help him. O (3) quickly grasped the concept that the bear was lonely and lost because the ice melted, which was a bad thing, and each time it is read to him before bed he understands it that little bit more.
The hidden meanings in the book are excellent, as is the story itself, but the illustrations are what originally captured our eyes when we were rummaging amongs thousands of books. We got the usual dinosaur, Knight and pirate themed books that day (his current obsessions), but Leaf was, admittedly, one my mum showed me and I instantly desperately wanted it, so I was extremely happy when O came to the same conclusion.
It’s colour pallet is absolutely stunning. With it’s teals, blues, greys and blacks as the base for most pages, it contrasts with the pops of colour, such as the vibrant orange from the foxes fur and the array of yellows in the setting sun. The detailed, patterned designs draw in the eye and stick in the memory.
Despite being classed as a children’s book, I strongly believe this one is for all ages, I can’t see anyone not enjoying this beautiful tale of loneliness, bravery, friendship and discovery.
It has quickly become one of our favourite bed time stories, despite my over emotionally invested son finding it heart wrenching when the bear is all alone, all I can say about that is, it truly must convey its messages very well.
Rated – 5/5 – by mummy and daddy
Rated – Sooo sad. Love bear book most – by O