Fletcher and the Falling Leaves
Fall means pumpkins, hayrides, Indian corn, candy corn, crisp autumn air, the changing colors of leaves and . . . Fletcher! We fell in love with Fletcher a few years ago when my son was five and began Kindergarten. During his weeks of transitioning into school, we would try to have a “low key, non-performance” time at home when he got off the bus. Many afternoons, we’d sit and draw, color and paint together at our kitchen table. One of our favorite memories is reading this book and trying to draw one of our favorite illustrations of Fletcher. Now, when the new school year begins, and we begin our autumn activities, we include many readings of this special book.
Introducing Our Featured Friend: Fletcher and the Falling Leaves
by Julia Rawlinson, Illustrated by Tiphanie Beeke
Fletcher is a fun, brave little fox who is worried about his favorite tree when fall brings changes that don’t look so good.
“I think my tree is sick,” said Fletcher.
“What’s wrong with it?” his mother asked.
“Its leaves are turning brown,” said Fletcher.
“Don’t worry, it’s only autumn,” she said.
Satisfied temporarily by his mother’s answer, Fletcher tries to comfort his tree thinking he’ll get better. But when the leaves continue to brown, Fletcher worries again. Then something even worse happens; the leaves begin to fall off the tree! Fletcher bravely does everything he can to help his tree. He catches the leaves and tries to put them back on their branches. He tries to keep the porcupine from taking the leaves for himself. He thanks the birds for their help gathering the leaves and putting them back on the tree. After all this, he is tired!
While Fletcher drifts off to sleep under his tree, the wind continues to whisk away the leaves. Fletcher wakes up to see only one leaf left on a branch. He does all he can to help that leaf hold on, but with a whoosh of wind, Fletcher heads home carrying the last leaf.
He keeps his promise to the tree by taking care of the lonely leaf back in his den. At dawn, Fletcher visits his favorite tree.
“Fletcher saw a magical sight . . .
The tree was hung with a thousand icicles, shining silver in the early light.
“You are more beautiful than ever,” whispered Fletcher.
“But are you all right?”
A tiny breeze shivered the branches, making sound like laughter,
and in the light of the rising sun, the sparkling branches nodded.
Fletcher gave his tree a hug.
Then he went back to the den for a nice, warm breakfast.”
Fletcher’s consideration for his tree and commitment to keep his promise to his friend is inspirational. He makes sacrifices to care for something else. He’s a brave, friendly fox that kids will love and learn from.
Rawlinson’s use of personification (The leaves shivered and shook themselves and began to wriggle free.) alliteration, ( They tossed and turned and twitched and tumbled to the ground.), and onomatopoeia (whoosh, plip!), carry this story beautifully.
Beeke’s illustrations are captivating, concluding with the most beautiful one: icicles dangling from the tree. Kids love touching the raised, glistening icicles in this picture.
Like my son and his third grade class, your family will fall in love with this friend this fall!
Inviting You to Become FRIENDS with Fletcher and the Falling Leaves:
Feel, Relate, Imagine, Explore, Navigate, Develop, Share
Select a couple of questions and activities to do with your kids or class:
F- How do you feel when you see the leaves fall? Excited to make a pile to jump into or sad to see empty branches?
R- Can you relate to Fletcher when he makes a promise to a friend (his tree) and does everything he can to keep that promise? To whom did you make a promise? What did you promise? What did you do to keep that promise? Why is it important to be careful what promises we make to others?
I- Imagine you are in the story with Fletcher! What would you do to help Fletcher gather up the leaves?
E- Explore some LEAF CRAFTS to remember Fletcher and the Falling Leaves:
Leaf Handprints: http://houseofburke.blogspot.ca/2014/09/leaf-handprints.html
Painted Leaf Ideas: http://www.artbarblog.com/inspire/14-amazing-diy-painted-leaves/
Tissue Paper Leaf Wreath: http://happyhooligans.ca/tissue-paper-fall-wreath/
Fall Leaf Mandala: http://artfulparent.com/2011/11/leaf-mandalas-for-the-wall.html
Autumn Leaf Mobile: http://theimaginationtree.com/2013/10/recycled-autumn-leaf-mobile-craft-activity.html
N- Navigate your way through a local forest or park to discover the wonder and beauty of fall. Engage all your sense by talking about what you see, hear, feel, smell and maybe even taste! Bring some leaves home to make your own collage: http://www.redtedart.com/2013/10/28/daily-creativity-leaf-collages/
D- Develop your own fall story or poem using by putting one of your favorite animals into a fall scene (like a pumpkin patch, corn maze, or hay ride).
S- Share every season with Fletcher by reading all four of his books, AND share more adventures with Fletcher and his friend Ferdie by reading their personal diary! http://www.juliarawlinson.com/ferdiesfletchers-diary.html
Illustrations by Tiphanie Beeke:
Check out: http://www.juliarawlinson.com
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