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Leaf Men

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The brave good bugs march off to save the garden . . .

First, they must fight the evil Spider Queen . . .

Before summoning the Leaf Men to save the day . . .

But what about the mystery of the Long-Lost Toy?

Here is ancient elfin magic, epic adventure, and a bugle salute to the power of memory, loyalty and ...

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The brave good bugs march off to save the garden . . .

First, they must fight the evil Spider Queen . . .

Before summoning the Leaf Men to save the day . . .

But what about the mystery of the Long-Lost Toy?

Here is ancient elfin magic, epic adventure, and a bugle salute to the power of memory, loyalty and love as resounding as Robin Hood's call to his Merry Men!

When an old woman gets sick and her garden begins to die, the doodle bugs call on the Leaf Men to make things right again.

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3In a stunningly designed but flawed picture book, Joyce tells a story of the magic that can heal a garden and an elderly woman on a beautiful moonlit night. The woman loves her garden, but only vaguely remembers how miraculous it was when she was a child. Soon she, and the garden, become sickly and near death. The insects worry, but don't know how to help. The "Long-Lost Toy" advises that they seek the help of the Leaf Men. In spite of the scorn of the evil Spider Queen, a brave troop of doodle bugs volunteers to scale the tall tree and summon the Leaf Men. It is a perilous journey but the bugs succeed, the Leaf Men kill the Spider Queen, and immediately the garden starts to thrive. But only the Long-Lost Toy can help the save the woman. The Leaf Men carry the tiny metal man to her bedside; when she sees him, her memories of childhood magic and protection are rekindled and begin to heal her. This lovely book is marred by a strangely flat and remote story. The grand, eloquent tone gives urgency to the adventure but is odd in the sentimental story of the old woman. The powerful paintings are full of mystery, but are not strong enough to carry an uneven plot that has questionable child appeal.Anne Connor, Los Angeles Public Library
Kirkus Reviews
As an old lady lies abed and her garden fails with her, a doughty band of doodlebugs—" `Tiny of body but brave of heart, we will finish what we start!' "—climbs the tallest tree in search of the elusive Leaf Men, hoping they can set things right. Indeed they can: Appearing just in time for a short but sharp battle in which the evil Spider Queen is slain, the Leaf Men, "gardeners of a grand and elfin sort," doctor all the wilted foliage, then bring the old woman back from the brink by presenting her with a toy lost in the garden long ago. A squad of lilliputian Jolly Green Giants, the emerald Leaf Men cut robust, heroic figures, hands on hips, long tendrils curling gracefully from their bald pates; the Spider Queen and her twiggy cohorts emit a suitably malicious air. Joyce (Santa Calls, 1993, etc.) places the action in a jungle of looming vegetation lit by the smiling moon that sails over nearly every scene. Small scale, grand adventure.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060272371
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 9/28/1996
  • Pages: 40
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.50 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.25 (d)

Meet the Author

William Joyce

William Joyce lives in Shreveport, Louisiana, with his lovely wife, Elizabeth, and their children, Mary Katherine and Jack. They also have a dachshund named Rose and something else named Rex. Mr. Joyce has produced two animated television shows based on his books: Rolie Polie Olie and George Shrinks. He also produced and designed the animated feature film Robots. Every once in a while he does a cover for The New Yorker. His alarmingly optimistic picture books include Dinosaur Bob and His Adventures with the Family Lazardo, Santa Calls, The Leaf Men and the Brave Good Bugs, and Bently & Egg.He is currently futzing around on several books and stories that embrace the alleged healing power of heroically scaled silliness.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 1 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 30, 2009

    more from this reviewer

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    William Joyce is well known for his amazing illustrations, but The Leaf Men and the Brave Good Bugs shows that he can spin a juicy yarn, too. Not only are the illustrations artfully done, they hold lots of tiny riddles, hidden treasures and visual tricks so that new delights are discovered at every reading.

    The tale showcases his unique voice, quirky imagination and devotion to connecting with the hearts and minds of children. He was inspired to write the tale of a garden that comes to life after dark by his daughter, who would creep through the bushes with a flashlight searching for fairies. Joyce brought those fairies to life and made them the doughty and decidedly masculine Leaf Men. The reader can really tell that this story was written by someone with the glad heart of a child.

    The Leaf Men and the Brave Good Bugs is unlike any picture book or fairy tale you've ever read.

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