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Lucky Leaf

Lucky Leaf

by Kevin O'Malley

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A boy just wants to stay inside and play video games. When his mother makes him go outside to play, he finds the last leaf hanging on a tree and makes a game of waiting for it to fall.


A boy just wants to stay inside and play video games. When his mother makes him go outside to play, he finds the last leaf hanging on a tree and makes a game of waiting for it to fall.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
O'Malley (Straight to the Pole) comes out with a new seasonally appropriate adventure starring an obstinate protagonist. Rendered in semi-comic book style with digitally colored ink outlines and text balloons, the opening scenes portray a boy sitting on an oversize armchair, playing a video game ("I'm beating level 20!" he cries, maniacally), when an unseen parent yells, "Okay, mister. Turn it off. Get outside and play." After protesting to no avail, the boy and his dog head into the breezy fall afternoon. Enormous, puffy clouds roll across the sky and fiery leaves illuminate trees and the ground beneath them-all met by the boy's pithy synopsis, "Stupid outside." He runs into two friends who share his fate, and they come upon a tree with one leaf remaining-a leaf that, they agree, will be lucky to whomever catches it. Frame after frame passes, and eventually the other boys give up. Buried under a pile of leaves ("I think it knows we're here. Let's hide," he tells his dog), the boy-with his pet's help-pops up in time for the lucky prize to land on his cap. A final twist shows that the boy's persistence does not result, appropriately enough, from a newfound appreciation of nature's glory. O'Malley delivers another triumph for the kids who have to be dragged kicking and screaming away from their action figures and video games. Ages 4-8. (Sept.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
This is a picture book for the older, video-game-playing set, for kids who are slumped in an armchair, game controller in hand, living for the moment in which they can "beat level 20" of their latest game. When our protagonist is finally sent outside ("stupid outside") by his fed-up mother, other friends similarly banished from their beloved games join him. In square cartoon bubbles, the friends complain together, until they get involved in the old-fashioned, pre-video-game pastime of waiting for the last "lucky" leaf to fall from a nearly bare tree. When our (unnamed) protagonist finally manages to catch the lucky leaf on his cap, he uses the luck it's promised him—yes, to go back inside and beat level 20 on his game at last. The sophisticated subject matter and "cool" cartoon-like style of presentation seem aimed at older children than the ages 4-8 recommended on the jacket flap, but parents and kids should both chuckle at O'Malley's amusingly accurate depiction of their perennial battles over leisure-time activities, with both lazy hours spent waiting for a leaf to fall and lazy hours focused on electronic pleasures getting their due. 2004, Walker, Ages 4 to 8.
—Claudia Mills, Ph.D.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-A boy and his faithful dog are forced to play outside by a mother who doesn't understand that using a video game is playing. Once there, the unhappy youngster finds two of his friends who are in the same situation. A game of trying to catch the last leaf on a tree, the lucky leaf, ensues. Done in pen and ink and colored in PhotoShop, the illustrations feature crisp, vibrant colors that create a vivid setting. The bright blues of the sky and rust of the leaves evoke a perfect fall day. The story is told through spare, but effective, dialogue presented in speech bubbles. The visual antics of the dog and a squirrel add to the fun. In fact, the squirrel just may be the key to acquiring the lucky leaf. The book ends just where it began-the boy once again glued to his video game-with one small addition: the lucky leaf is perched jauntily on his head. This lighthearted tale is a good choice for one-on-one sharing or for independent readers.-Catherine Callegari, San Antonio Public Library, TX Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
While trying to beat level 20, a young boy's video-gaming gets interrupted by the age-old maternal cry of "Get outside and play!" He takes his dog for a walk in the autumn leaves and meets up with some friends who have also been tossed out for some fresh air. The three of them find a tree with one remaining leaf, and someone says that catching the last leaf to fall from a tree is lucky. Being more patient and sneaky than his friends, the boy catches the last leaf on his hat and returns to his house to try his luck at trouncing level 20. O'Malley's inked illustrations, colored digitally, are laid out like a comic strip in panels, with about half of them filling a single page and all of the text appearing in balloons. As usual, there's more going on in the pictures than O'Malley's text would indicate; sly jokes include a squirrel's complicity in the leaf's descent and the idea that being outside does not necessarily mean physical activity. Youngsters will be able to relate to the young video-gamer, and they'll feel right at home in the comic-book format. (Picture book. 3-8)

Product Details

Walker & Company
Publication date:
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Product dimensions:
8.73(w) x 9.90(h) x 0.17(d)
Age Range:
4 - 7 Years

Meet the Author

Kevin O'Malley has been amassing high praise for his hilarious, kid-friendly picture books. His Straight to the Pole was named a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year, and it earned starred reviews in School Library Journal and The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books. School Library Journal and Kirkus Reviews also gave Kevin's Mount Olympus Basketball starred reviews, with Kirkus calling it a "sidesplitting slam-dunk." He is also the illustrator and co-author of the bestselling Miss Malarkey series for Walker & Company.
Kevin lives in Baltimore, Maryland, with his wife and two sons.

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