Thursday, September 04, 2014

Turn, Turn, Turn! : Fall Leaves by Loretta Holland




And when the sun leaves, we take notice!

As earth rolls on in its annual revolution, the sun smiles on the southern hemisphere. Folks on the northern half notice that things are changing relentlessly in another direction.

Loretta Holland's forthcoming Fall Leaves (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014) makes artful use of wordplay and page design to show the inexorable changing of the seasons.

Playing upon the double meanings of the words fall and leaves, the author describes the ways of autumn. Flowers, birds, and, slowly but implacably, the sun, too, leave us behind in a chilling landscape, albeit one made more jolly by the colors of the falling leaves and the richness of the harvest. Daytimes grow short, rain falls on the fallen leaves, and the world seems to be trying to hold on to its last warm breath. And then....



As things move inexorably toward winter, the movement of Elly McKay's lustrous illustrations is from left to right, as, with each page turn, her palette darkens from bright yellows, oranges, and greens to ambers, ochers and browns, until at last, as fall itself leaves the scene, the colors are the grays and blues, lavenders and whites of winter. Her young autumnal time travelers, a boy and girl, also constantly in motion, run, bike, boat, jump, dash, and lastly sled in the snow, also moving left to right through the pages, emphasizing the measured march of earth-time from season to season.

Author Holland's narrative pages offer two forms of text: her evocative words feature the dual meanings of fall and leaves, in large capital letters, whereas in a smaller font she offers the scientific rationale behind what is going on in the cycling of the seasons. Since she offers none of the usual visual diagrams of sun and earth, the book is best read by children who already understand how earth's revolution on its tilted axis causes seasonal changes, while the vivid child-pleasing illustrations connect planetary motion to the palpable experiences of calendar cycles with considerable visual and emotion impact; as the pages turn, so does the world.

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