Using the point of view of a tree as his visual constant, Hall offers 15 poems inspired by mashed-up words—“Peacefall,” “Plentifall,” and so on—to discover autumn’s many delights.
Days come and go as an unnamed tree observes life and everything else that goes on all around it. The first few double-page spreads set up the languid pace: the drop of acorns, the beginning of a new school year. Soon, some of the tree’s leaves change color. “Autumn / colors, / all around. / And look / (rustle, rustle)— / I’m dressed / for the / season, / too.” The spare text knits a tapestry of gentle, joyous scenes. Trick-or-treaters pass by wearing ghoulish masks, a pair of raccoons feasts on a slice of pumpkin pie, and children play with the fallen leaves. Hall’s digital artwork employs a bold palette on white and soft- to deep-blue backgrounds, accentuating the text’s warmly affectionate tone. Various animals weave in and out of each scenario, including a pair of spirited squirrels with a preference for acorns. Each turn of the page enfolds readers into the passage of time. As the tree says goodbye to migrating geese, the narrative becomes even quieter. “See / the mist. / Hear / the quiet. / Smell / the cold.” Readers know just what’s around the corner. Concluding notes on the various critters the tree observes add some scientific punch.
A haunting journey through autumn and a lovely triumph. (Picture book/poetry. 4-8)