This prettily creative work exudes a certain storybook charm. Philpot's lushly colored artwork blends folksy details, skewed perspectives, illuminated letters and fancifully bordered pages into a diverting potpourri. The story concerns young Kay, who, finding a bright and yellow and shiny autumn leaf, insists it has magical properties. Her wishes, in fact, come true, though her family members are too preoccupied with their various activities to believe her. Only her grandmother, in the end, supports the child's claims about her leaf--Because I caught one once. Unfortunately, the dramatic possibilities of master fantasy writer Jones's unassuming plot have not been fully explored here. Her sweet though somewhat predictable tale of youngsters' frustration with adult oblivousness to the magic of childhood seems somewhat attenuated. With talk of dragons, and ships, and towers, and faces children will wish to hear more about these potentially intriguing topics, and may be disappointed in this ultimately sedate offering. Ages 4-up. (Sept.)
PreS-Gr 1-- Jones, a popular writer of fantasy for older readers, has created a rather ordinary picture book. Kay, the youngest child in a large, busy family, feels left out. She watches as her siblings catch falling leaves and, after several unsuccessful tries, secures one of her own, which she is sure is magical. The leaf does amazing things, but no one will listen when she tries to share her stories. At last, the girl comes upon her grandmother, who not only understands but recalls that she, too, once had a magic leaf. In his bright and engaging illustrations, Philpot captures the delightful images that Kay conjures up and at the same time reflect the real world. That the child's fantasies take flight while the imaginative play of her older siblings remains firmly earthbound is no accident. The bright, gay colors reflect the autumn leaves, the giant flower, the bubble-encased kingdom, and the children's rooms in a well-crafted manner that invites youngsters to either pore over the details or sit back and savor the total landscape. The situation is one that youngsters will relate to, but the unremarkable telling is flat : and patronizing. It hardly seems natural that Kay's siblings would be kind in their rejection of her, and the repeated use of the word ``kindly'' implies a tacit approval of the situation. --Linda Greengrass, Bank Street College Library, NY
Kay watches from behind a tree as her older brothers and sisters are catching leaves, and then ventures forth to grab her own shiny, yellow leaf. Kay is sure that it's magic. Obligingly, it turns sand pies into delicious edibles, a rose into a humongous flower, and her clothes into a queen's finery. When she tries to share this amazing news with her family, they all send her away with a kindly but dismissive, "Yes dear." However, when Kay shows Granny her leaf, before the girl can speak, Granny says, "I see you've caught a magic leaf." She knows because she caught one, too, when she was a girl. Jones gets the sentiment right. Young children know what it's like to be shut out by busy parents and siblings, only to be welcomed by a grandparent who has the time, inclination, and understanding to share in a child's delight. At first glance, especially on the dust jacket, Philpot's art resembles that of Trina Schart Hyman, but inside, the pictures are a little disappointing because of occasional clutter. Still, there's warmth here that blankets the flaws.