Autumn arrives in a series of three-dimensional tableaux created from cut yupo (plastic) paper and ink; illuminated from varying angles, the vignettes are cleverly photographed and cropped for dramatic effect.
A redheaded boy and girl play in a treehouse, bike through the countryside, watch birds take flight and dance with umbrellas in scenes that include intense light or brilliant autumnal colors. The duo is generally in sharp focus, while borders and backgrounds are blurred, a decision suggesting depth, motion or otherworldliness, depending on the composition. The text has two layers. On one level, the large, two-word concepts that function as headings on each verso could be read as the sole verbal narrative. There is a playful quality as a word’s meaning changes relative to its use as a noun or verb: “FLOWERS LEAVE / APPLES FALL / LEAVES FALL / FALL STAYS / LEAVES LEAVE.” Although this verbal chain misses some opportunities for more artful linkages, the real problem lies with the second layer of text. Holland tries to provide scientific explanations about the Earth’s rotation, chlorophyll, hibernation, etc., without the benefit of diagrams or much in the way of scientific context. The effect is a lengthy muddle of didactic distraction that is not appropriate for the target age or the ethereal illustrations.
Skip the small print and linger instead on the seasonal glory unfolding as the pages turn. (activity) (Picture book. 3-6)