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Last Leaf First Snowflake to Fall
     

Last Leaf First Snowflake to Fall

by Leo Yerxa
 

Last Leaf First Snowflake to Fall takes us on a dreamlike voyage into nature at that secret moment when fall turns into winter. We find ourselves in a kind of paradise, which humans may be part of but which they have not despoiled.

A Native father and son lead us through forests, down rivers, over lakes and ponds. Along the way we experience the primordial

Overview

Last Leaf First Snowflake to Fall takes us on a dreamlike voyage into nature at that secret moment when fall turns into winter. We find ourselves in a kind of paradise, which humans may be part of but which they have not despoiled.

A Native father and son lead us through forests, down rivers, over lakes and ponds. Along the way we experience the primordial beauty of the physical world. This is nature as we all feel in our hearts it must once have been.

Through lyrical words and a masterful collage technique, Leo Yerxa has created an exquisite and poetic evocation of this moment.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
An unpunctuated prose-poem and leaf-like collage illustrations trace an almost archetypal wilderness journey. As a Native American parent and child travel with their canoe, they find themselves camping out on the night during which fall palpably turns to winter (``The night wind howled a warning/ The moon and stars were swallowed up by dark clouds/ The last leaf fell''). The echoes and rhythmic repetitions of the Canadian author-artist's text mirror nature's own repetitive cycles; however, their incantatory and often abstract quality demands special talents from those reading the work aloud. His tissue-paper collages-softly wrinkled, with gradual variegations of hue-cast a more successful spell: their dreaminess is more accessible, their power likelier to linger. Ages 5-8. (Sept.)
School Library Journal
Gr 2 Up-This poetic story begins with two pages of lengthy text telling of the time long ago when all the world was dark and the snow was born ``...with a whisper/from the wind to the leaves/the leaves to the birds/startled, the birds flew south.'' The activities of other living creatures and humans are briefly listed, and then the tale segues into more modern times. Two unidentified but apparently native people journey in their canoe through the natural world, during the end of autumn and the arrival of winter. They walk through the forest, drift across the pond, and sleep under the clouds, observing squirrels, fish, and beavers. As they sleep, the last leaf falls, followed by the first snowflake. The evocative story and pictures are timeless. The sophisticated free verse is devoid of punctuation except for a few commas, and is arranged in lines so that the meaning is clear. But the book's strength is the striking, full-color collages. Created with dyed tissue paper, they add depth and texture to the natural world they depict. Varied perspectives and abstract images add interest, and skillful composition emphasizes the main elements from the text. An unusual selection for libraries with a high demand for both seasonal and native stories.-Cynthia K. Richey, Mt. Lebanon Public Library, Pittsburgh, PA
Karen Hutt
"From this darkness snow was born / It began with a whisper / from the wind to the leaves / the leaves to the birds." As autumn ends, two "nishnawbe" walk through the early morning darkness, canoe across a pond, and walk through the forest to a swamp, finally coming to rest under the night sky and waking to a new snow and season. Beautifully constructed collages bring this narrative poem to life, echoing the changes in the natural world from night to day and autumn to winter. The illustrations range from small visuals to full double-page spreads, balancing the variations in the text and inviting the reader to continue the journey. A lovely, poetic introduction to winter.
From the Publisher
Winner of the CLA Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Illustrator's Award, 1994

Winner of the Mr. Christie's Book Award, 1993

"This is a sophisticated and enchanting book for every age." —Quill & Quire, starred review

"Beautifully constructed collages bring this narrative poem to life . . . A lovely, poetic introduction to winter." — Booklist

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780888991836
Publisher:
Groundwood Books
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
6.11(w) x 11.11(h) x 1.11(d)

Meet the Author

Leo Yerxa was born on the Little Eagle Reserve in northern Ontario. His first book, Last Leaf First Snowflake to Fall, was nominated for a Governor General's Award and won the Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Award, the Mr. Christie's Book Award and the Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Award. His book Ancient Thunder was winner of the 2006 Governor General's Award for Illustration. Yerxa lives in Ottawa.

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