Dance Like A Leaf (Book Review 11)

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Dance Like A Leaf by A.J. Irving & art by Claudia Navarro (2020)

Summary: this picture book celebrates shared moments between a girl and her grandma during the fall. The girl finds her own way through grief after her grandma’s health declines. This poetic story captures the bond of grandparent and child in the language and art during a time of loss.

What I Enjoyed

  • Big Feelings: from beginning to end, this story goes through feelings of delight, care, sadness, and hope. This is captured by the text and the art.
  • The Dialogue: the exchanges between grandchild and grandparent feel authentic and specific, but also universal. If you were able to spend time with your grandparent or are able to see that interaction as a parent, grandparents tend to play the same games and use the same phrases with their grandchildren.
  • The Concept: This book uses traditions and time to tell a story about about aging and loss. Although a difficult topic, both the words and the art take the reader on a journey that ends with hope.

Mentor Text Moments

  • For Authors & illustrators – pacing: seasons mark the passage of time in a way that is accessible for young readers and still poetic. Meanwhile, the art moves us from outdoor to indoors to outdoor again as the year passes. It is a wonderful touch how even the visual world expands and contracts and expands again to enhance the poetry/feelings of The story.
  • For Illustrators – character design: grandma dresses in layers, with cropped pants and bold prints, scarves, head scarves and glasses. I feel like there are elements in grandma’s design that resonate with all of us who have grandparents or have older relatives in our lives.
  • For Illustrators – the palette: the colors are stunning and completely opposite to what I would have chosen. Along with the earthy red, yellows, and oranges, Navarro uses gem tones to heighten the magical relationship between grandma and grandchild. Magical like scarves and tea and warm memories.
Note: this book was received as part of a giveaway.

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