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LEAF by Stephen Michael King


by Stephen Michael King & illustrated by Stephen Michael King

Age Range: 5 - 9

Pub Date: March 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-1-59643-503-2
Publisher: Neal Porter/Roaring Brook

A curious, curiously subversive and very pretty wordless Australian import. A mop-headed child faces a momlike figure with scissors in her hands—definitely time for a haircut. The child, however, has other ideas and runs out to frolic in the grass with an equally bouncy puppy. A bird drops a seed, which begins to grow in the child’s hair. But the little plant wilts! An umbrella keeps the sun off, then child and pup try to water it (the bedtime shower works best). Nightmares cause the child to submit to shearing, however, after which pup and child plant the sapling. It grows. So do the kid and the puppy, and the end finds a bird dropping a seed on the dog’s offspring’s head and... The resolutely genderless depiction of the child may have some readers gasping at the end and going back to the beginning—not a bad outcome at all. Wonderful squiggly line, patches of green and brown, gold and blue and fabulous use of negative white space make this a joy to reread. (Picture book. 5-9)