Title: A Leaf Can Be…
Author: Laura Purdie Salas
Illustrator: Violeta Dabija
Publisher: Millbrook Press
ISBN: 978-0-7613-6; 51795
Audience: Ages 5 – 8
Summary: A leaf is a simple part of the plant but it offers an unlimited number of possibilities. In this story, it can go from being a water ladle, water taker and food maker to shelter and rain stopper. A leaf can make medicine and beauty ingredients as well as air cleaner and help make the earth green. Finally, a leaf rides in the air when it is dead. The leaf benefits the environment, humans, and animals.
Central Literary elements at work in the story: Poetically written, the rhymes of the personified leaf describe different attributes where the leaf as subject plays several roles. For example, instead of saying that a leaf can be an animal’s food, the author puts it this way: a leaf can be “food maker”, or “nest former”. The leaf is presented in anactive role rather than undergoing the action passively. In certain roles, a leaf protects the prey from predator: “snake concealer”.
Perspective on gender/race/culture/abilities/disabilities/economic status: Although the leaf plays various roles, the gender element is unthinkable; economic and social statuses are positively described as possible roles of the leaf but are not used in the discriminatory way.
Theological Conversation Partners: A leaf is characterized with vulnerability and flexibility. Sometimes the vulnerability of the leaf makes ond think of the fragility of our life. The leaf’s flexibility makes one think of how God endows our life with different gifts for different uses. In the Bible the leaf symbolizes prosperity or spiritual blessing (Ezekiel 47:12; Psalms 1:3) as well as moral decay (Isaiah 64:6).
Faith Talk Questions:
- How do you make use of the leaf?
- Consider the time when there are no leaves on the trees, how does it make you feel?
- In what way our life might be as flexible as the leaf?
- Think of human conditions and the leaves on the tree. What lessons can we learn?
This review was written by Union Presbyterian Seminary student Bahekelwa Imatha.