Leif and the Fall by Allison Sweet Grant and Adam Grant

Leif and the Fall by Allison Sweet Grant and Adam Grant
Publisher: Dial Books
Genre: Children’s (0 – 6 y.o.), Middle Grade (8 – 12 y.o.), Contemporary
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Leif is a leaf. A worried leaf. It is autumn, and Leif is afraid to fall. “All leaves fall in the fall,” say the other leaves. But Leif is determined to find a different way down, and with his friend Laurel, he uses the resources around him to create a net, a kite, a parachute in hopes of softening his landing. The clock is ticking, the wind is blowing. What will happen when a gust of wind pulls Leif from his branch?

In a culture that prizes achievement, kids are often afraid to fail–failing to realize that some of the very ideas that don’t work are steps along the path to ones that will.

Success is never guaranteed.

I was impressed by the wide range of ages this picture book seemed to be written for. Some layers of meaning sure seemed like they were meant for older kids, but the basic storyline about the importance of persistence was straightforward enough to be appreciated by younger readers as well. This isn’t something I see done very often, but it makes me smile every time it happens. It’s delightful to find examples of stories like this one that can speak to kids of all ages.

There were a few times when I wondered why Leif kept throwing away his inventions. It seems wasteful, especially as other leaves began to fall and he had fewer friends to help and fewer materials to work with. Surely he could have found a better use for his inventions or kept trying to improve them! This was a minor criticism of something I otherwise enjoyed a lot, but it is something I’d want to discuss with young readers after finishing this tale.

The ending made me smile. I nodded along as Leif put all of the pieces together and realized what had just happened to him after his time to fall from his tree finally came. This conclusion was as logical as it was downright funny! While I was satisfied with how everything was wrapped up, it also left room for a sequel if the author ever decides to write one.

Leif and the Fall was a humorous take on a serious subject that I was glad to read this autumn.

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