Barb's Short Shelf

Barb’s Short Shelf: Autumn Picks

The Short Shelf

Book Services by Barb Weber

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Thank you, autumn!

Here are some great books to celebrate and savor the fall season.

While Oliver Finds His Way, by Phyllis Root, isn’t about fall, a beautiful, bright, crisp New England autumn day is the perfect setting—and set-up—for this sweet, empowering little story of resourcefulness and conquering one’s fears for the little ones. While mama and papa bear are busy with chores, Oliver has fun chasing a big yellow leaf. But in his zeal and enjoyment, he strays too far, out of sight of mama and papa. What to do?! First he cries, but then he realizes that that’s not getting him anywhere. So, after thinking hard, he comes up with an idea, and is soon home amid “tumble-down hugs.” Christopher Denise’s illustrations infuse the story with wonderful autumn atmosphere and give life to Oliver’s winning personality. (Works well in board format, too.)

Two good titles involving autumn leaves are Leaves, by David Ezra Stein, and Fletcher and the Falling Leaves, by Julia Rawlinson (illustrated by Tiphanie Beeke). In Stein’s Leaves, with his always-charming illustrations, a bear in his first year wonders at the falling leaves on his little island. Are they alright? He tries to save them, but his winter sleepiness comes upon him, and he looks for a place to hole up for his long winter nap, puts those fallen leaves to good use as his bed, and sleeps the winter away. When he wakes up to a welcoming spring, he’s overjoyed to welcome a new crop of fresh green leaves. (Great as a board book, too.)

Rawlinson’s Fletcher is a caring little fox, and a good friend. And a bit of a worrier. It’s Fletcher’s first year, and when the autumn wind begins to steal away his favorite tree’s leaves, he doesn’t understand, and worries for his friend, and does all he can to prevent the inevitable. But by the end, Fletcher begins to see that it’s time for the tree to embrace its winter mantle. Beeke’s lovely, evocative watercolor illustrations capture the blustery season, and Fletcher’s sweetness and earnest concern. (See also the other two installments in the Fletcher series, Fletcher and the Springtime Blossoms, and Fletcher and the Snowflake Christmas,for more of the kind, thoughtful little fox’s adventures.)

And one for the autumn holiday, Thank You, Thanksgiving, by David Milgrim. This is my absolute favorite Thanksgiving book. Very simple, but perfectly captures the spirit of Thanksgiving, and, after all, isn’t the idea of being thankful pretty simple? Our little heroine is sent out on Thanksgiving Day for whipping cream for the holiday pie. On the way, this little girl is thankful for all the little things that make life a joy, from warm boots on a snowy day, to the pretty clouds that adorn the autumn sky, and the whipped cream on the pumpkin pie. Read it at Thanksgiving, and practice it the rest of the year.

Barb Weber has been a fan of children’s books all her life (she still has her copy of her favorite Golden Book, The Little Yellow Taxi, torn page and all, and it still chokes her up), and has been a children’s bookseller for over ten years. She likes nothing better than to share her enthusiasm and bring terrific books to people’s attention.

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