Saturday, August 11, 2012

This Week's Book

The Little Yellow Leaf by Carin Berger

I just discovered this author and book (published in 2008) and yet the latter feels comfortably familiar while keeping me turning the pages.  I'd call it an instant classic but I'm willing to bet someone out there has already dubbed it thus.

The Little Yellow Leaf had me at the cover. While title is sweet as are the illustrations, I also admire the font, the colour palette, and I that the entire book jacket is one image so that when the book is being read an onlooker sees the big picture.

Upon first read I liked the story and it's quaint clarity as well as the previously mentioned comfy yet fresh quality of the art that comes, in part, from the use of collage with hints of text, textbook graphics, foolscap and graph paper. (I wondered where the term foolscap came from - I'd always thought it was "full scap" surely due to some grade school teacher's pronunciation - so I looked it up. Just follow the link to learn more.)

In case you were unsure which
little yellow leaf is our protagonist...

After a couple more reads I see now just how much the artwork adds to the tale. The author/illustrator is an expert at perspective. The tree itself appears straightforward but if you look closely (the images you see here don't do the book justice) there are words in them there trees, literally! Throughout the story we see the little yellow leaf's oak tree in different light, weather, and from different distances and angles.

Brilliant perspective: view of the
oak tree from above

Once the leaves are airborne the fields far below are a patchwork quilt of understated colors and patterns, but they are not simply a two dimensional backdrop, the fields have hills at their edge and sky beyond so that the viewer is not looking straight down on the field but is there, in the air with the leaves.

Collage patchwork quilt of fields and hills

This book is whimsical, homey, and full of hope; now to go find more from this author!

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