Larry Leaf
by Joanne Elizabeth Corrao

"It is a beautiful spring day once again!"

Larry Leaf is a simple story that "teaches children about the seasons." Born during the spring, Larry Leaf tells a bit about himself and where he lives before describing the various aspects of nature as each season passes. By autumn, Larry Leaf changes from green to a bright yellow color. But while leaves around him have fallen off and the season moves on to winter, Larry Leaf hangs all alone until his branch cracks and falls on the snowy ground during a blustery night. Larry's life changes again when some children use his branch as a snowman's arm. The snowman melts and he finally falls off the branch. But he is quickly carried off by strong winds to a river adventure that eventually brings him back to spring.

Joanne Elizabeth Corrao's collaboration with illustrator Ramir Quintana has produced a delightful story that grabs the attention of young readers. Narrated by Larry Leaf, Corrao's first person account reflects the viewpoint of a child who is mesmerized by the nuances of nature (i.e., birds, sunshine, flowers). Corrao keeps her sentence structures succinct alongside Quintana's complementary child-like illustrations. Amid the bright and cherry narrative and depictions, Corrao inferences that a correlation exists between the seasons of nature and the seasons of life. Great examples of these subtleties, which Quintana deftly captures, are in the two winter scenes followed by Larry Leaf's river journey. While the change in scenery is a bit harsh, it opens an opportunity for parents and teachers to engage in a discussion with their young audience about times when they weren't happy, which sets a reminder that everyone has good and bad days. A delightful and educational read, Larry Leaf is a great resource for home and school, as well as library programs.

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