Saturday, October 4, 2014

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 168

Terrific Trio: Book 3 

Picture Book: The Fall of Freddie the Leaf: A Story of Life for All Ages

Author: Leo Buscaglia

Photographs from multiple photographers are used in this book.

Summary: Freddie and his other leaf friends enjoy hanging from their tree and watching the people below. He especially enjoys Daniel, the largest and wisest leaf on his branch. Daniel explains things to Freddie like the concept of purpose. Freddie’s purpose is to make things more pleasant for others like giving shade. When the first frost comes, Daniel continues to explain the autumn changes, the new colors, and the falling of the leaves in the wind. Daniel says, “It’s the time for leaves to change their home. Some people call it to die.” Freddie pours out his fears to Daniel as they watch their friends fall, but Daniel reassures Freddie with a reminder that he didn’t mind the other natural changes the seasons had brought. Freddie’s questions continue until Daniel lets go and says, “Goodbye for now, Freddie.” The only leaf on the branch, Freddie clings to the tree even into the first snowfall. When a breeze takes him from the tree, Freddie is able to see the whole tree for the first time and is proud to be a part of something so strong and beautiful. He lands on a clump of snow and peacefully falls asleep not realizing that plans of spring, in which he will have a part, have already begun.

Hanna’s Comments: Buscalia was one of the first American educators who spoke of the importance of talking about death and dying. This book helped me realize the power of picture books, even for adults, for grappling with difficult subjects in a way that was less threatening and consoling. My own father died of cancer just a year after this publication; this book was a comfort to me as it has been for thousands since its publication. Buscaglia’s dedication reads: “To all children who have ever suffered a permanent loss and to the grownups who could not find a way to explain it. “

Publisher & Date of Publication: Charles B. Stack, 1982

Age & Grade Appropriateness: 4 and up, Pre and up

# of Pages: 32

Available in Spanish? Not at present

Formats other than Book: Audio cassette, Several video versions are on Youtube.com.  

PBT Category: Pre 2K

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: anxiety/worry, death/loss/grief, endings, fear, flowers/leaves/trees, life, purpose, questioning/questions, reassurance, time/timing/over time, wisdom

Scripture Connections: Dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it (Ecclesiastes 12:7); whoever believes in Him will not die (John 3:16); he will wipe away every tear… death shall be no more (Revelation 21:4)

Idea(s) for Application: This would be a perfect book for a pastor to read to the children and adults in a family who has experienced a death. Theological details that match your faith can be easily added to the conversation as you read.