April 23, 2012
A Leaf Can Be by Laura Purdie Salas, illustrated by Violeta Dabija
So opens this deceptively simply book. Following this spread, Salas works her way through a variety of the roles that leaves play. Arranged in rhyming pairs, the emphasis is on the role of leaves in the natural world but human uses for leaves are not neglected.
Structuring this kind of text is always tricky since even nonfiction requires some kind of story arc. Much of this arc comes through Dabija’s dreamy illustrations. From spring to full summer, autumn and the winter, the illustrations move through a full year, bringing us back to green leaves in one final spread for a satisfying circular structure.
This would be a great read for a preschool class, an excellent introduction to nature, leaves and trees. The spare text gives young readers information to play with and whets their appetites for more. The rhyming words also allow for fun word play. This gentle text paired with dreamy illustrations are also quiet enough to make an excellent bed time book.
Fortunately, there is an author’s note that provided not only more text but also a list for further reading as well as a glossary.
Pick this one up to share with a curious young nature lover today.