Picture Book Reviews · Picture Books

Review: Leaf by Sandra Dieckmann


A strange, white creature is swept ashore and makes its home in the abandoned cave. Is he a ghost? A monster? Every day the bear gathers leaves from the forest. The other animals name him Leaf, and they want him to leave. Nobody dares approach the bear, until one day the crows save him from drowning and listen to his story. 

A beautiful story about tolerance and environmental damage

img_4793Leaf washes up on foreign shores, and the resident animals are slow to accept him and offer him help. It is difficult not to see parallels to the refugee crisis, especially with the pictures of Leaf washed up on the beach. It would be a lovely book to discuss these issues as it focuses on the reaction of the other animals as equally as it does upon Leaf’s arrival. 

It is also a book about environmental damage. Leaf’s home is melting and the damage caused him to drift across the sea. If children empathise with Leaf and care about his home, it would be a great opening to talk about environmental issues. The first step to making a change is empathy, and this book is about empathising with other people and the plight of our world

The art is stunning. It is intricately detailed and full of texture, from the leaves img_4792which build up the forest floor to the feathered birds. Colour is used to convey the mood. This is particularly striking in the picture where the dark blue sea churns behind Leaf, and the helpful birds rest on the golden sand. 

If you read closely, you will see a new bird appears on every double page spread. This makes a fun counting game, and conveys a sense of the animals coming together one-by-one to help Leaf. It only takes one person to listen for others to change their minds. 


Louise Nettleton

5 thoughts on “Review: Leaf by Sandra Dieckmann

  1. Oh wow, this book sounds so sweet! I’m starting work in a nursery soon & would love to read this to the children – what age range would you say it’s appropriate for? Thanks 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This would be lovely for nursery children. It is the sort of book which could be used at all ages. Just watch out for the last pic. Leaf has his eyes closed and is covered in flowers. He isn’t dead, but a small child looking on their own might make that mistake. (I found it symbolic – we *might* lose polar bears if we don’t help.) So long as the kids are happy he is alive and well, they should get on well with the book.

      Hope all goes well in the new job. x

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Fabulous! I’m so excited about having some children to read to & I’ll probably drive my colleagues bananas with all the books I want to read to/with the children ahaha. And thank you!! It’s a few weeks off but I’m definitely looking forward to it 😁

        Liked by 1 person

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