Tuesday, February 11, 2020

The Very Last Leaf - a bookwrap


The Very Last Leaf
Authored by Stef Wade
Illustrated by Jennifer Davison

Ages:  4-8
Grade Level:  PS-3
Publisher:  Captstone Editions, 2020
Pub. Date:  July 1, 2020
Language:  English

Unwrapping Some Sweet Illustrations 

The Book

Lance Cottonwood is a very smart leaf, why he is one of the brightest in his class.  He passes his tests and exams with ease... except for one... the final one!  

"This test would take him from the top of his sturdy tree to the grass down below."  Oh my!  How scary is that? 

All the other leaves can't wait to take the plunge but as they all depart  Lance becomes more and more anxious and afraid to disengage because soon it will be his turn to go.  He makes up excuses to delay his departure and as he waits he imagines all the scary scenarios that can possibly happen to him when he does.  Poor guy.  His classmates sense his apprehension and fearfulness and begin mocking him calling him names. 

"I guess he's not good at everything."
"He's a sacredly leaf!" 

Can Lance overcome his fright and take the downward flight like his friends so easily managed to do?  

This sweet book is a perfect conversation starter to help kids open up and share fears that might be troubling them.  I like the way the  leaves that have succeeded in their descent all praise Lance's bravery and make him feel so happy at what he has accomplished.  The book touts encouragement and hope and the fact that fears can be faced head on and conquered. 

 I also like the Progress Report Card at the end of the book rating Lance's performances throughout the year by his teacher.  It is liberating to know that he did not receive A's on every subject and eludes to the fact that you don't have to be best at everything you tackle.  The illustrations are very well done and Lance is a sweet, relatable character.

Some reviewers seem disturbed that the ending is too morbid because Lance knows that once he jumps that will be the end of him.  I would rather be more optimistic and positive.  Lance now will become part of some beautiful rich compost that will give life-giving nutrients to a brand new cottonwood tree.  He will part of that tree and many, many more to come. His future can be very bright.  I highly recommend this book.  

Storywraps Rating - 5 +++ HUGS!!!

Meet the Author

Stef used to write about cardboard boxes, but thinks writing books is far more exciting.

Stef is the author of A PLACE FOR PLUTO, Honorable Mention for the Council for Wisconsin Writers Toft/Wright Children’s Literacy award, a 2018 Barnes & Noble story time pick, 2019 TXLA 2×2 Reading List Book, 2019 UK Summer Reading Challenge book, and a 2019 LITA Golden Duck Notable Picture Book.
Her newest picture book, THE VERY LAST LEAF, illustrated by Jennifer Davison, releases from Capstone July 1, 2020. And her third picture book, Q & U CALL IT QUITS, illustrated by Jorge Martin, releases from HarperCollins in 2021.
She holds a BA in advertising from Marquette University and an MBA in Integrated Marketing Communication from DePaul University.
Stef is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). She’s bounced all over the midwest with her college sweetheart husband and her three historically and literary named boys and currently resides in the Milwaukee area.
Stef is represented by Christa Heschke of McIntosh & Otis.

About the Illustrator

Jennifer Davison is an illustrator from Northern Ireland. She works at home, in her little studio packed full of children’s books and toys. Jennifer has worked in the animation industry but she recently left to pursue her passion in children’s picture books. She loves the playfulness of producing work for children. It takes her back to being a child herself, spending hours creating imaginary worlds and characters. When illustrating for children, she tries to look again at the world through the eyes of a child. Although, she doesn’t think she has ever actually ‘grown up’ so it doesn’t take much for her to regress to childhood again! Jennifer's childhood is a constant source of inspiration for her work. The things that she learned and experienced when she was younger have shaped who she is today. It’s wonderful to have the opportunity to inspire children. She was fortunate enough to grow up in a house were creativity was encouraged. Her mum is an artist, so creating art has always been part of her life.

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