Fiddleheads to Fir Trees: Leaves in All Seasons by Joanne Linden, Illustrated by Laurie Caple, Mountain Press Publishing Company.
We are really enjoying this book. The illustrations are what drew us in but the text is wonderful as well. Each leaf type section starts with a poem. We are big children’s poetry fans in my household, mostly because we enjoy words and language so much. The poems are very well done and paint a lovely picture in one’s mind. The illustrations, as I mentioned already, are very nice and I enjoy Laurie Caple’s style very much. The colors are deep and saturated.
The bonus in this book is that to the side of the poem and illustration is additional information about the leaves. For example, the first entry in the book is Fiddleheads. (I just love the look of fiddleheads with their tiny curled up ferny leaves.) So, you have the illustration with the poem over the top and to the side is a brief, interesting explanation of the leaf. It is just enough information to add a nice touch to the book without being so overwhelming that boys will be bored with it or that young boys will feel there is too much reading. A perfect balance.
At the back of Fiddleheads to Fir Trees is a little game. There is a list of animals (mammals, insects, birds, reptiles and amphibians, and fish) to find in the pages of the book. It is not difficult at all as the animals stand out in the illustrations but it is a nice way to add specific names to the animals. Instead of just squirrel or bird, you can find the Red Squirrel or the Northern Cardinal.
I was pleasantly surprised to find that the author and illustrator are both from Wisconsin. That is where we are from as well. We can relate to their connection to the subjects they chose to depict here all the more. The illustrator has also had her work in Cricket (see magazine reviews here.) I hope we will see more books from this wonderful duo.
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