I don’t own this little treasure, Fletcher and the Falling Leaves, by Julia Rawlinson, but I will someday. This sweet book is one I discovered because I enjoy the illustrations of Tiphanie Beeke, who illustrated The Stars Will Still Shine, by Cynthia Rylant, a book I wrote about a while ago here.
Rawlinson has created a touching story of a little fox named Fletcher (Ferdie in the UK) who has a favorite tree. When the autumn weather comes and the tree begins to lose leaves, Fletcher becomes worried and tries to help his friend keep its leaves.
Each day, more and more leaves turn brown and flutter down to the ground.
This painting is marvelous, full of movement and emotion. This is rather what winter looks like to me, as we get no snow where we live. The autumn leaves hang onto the trees well into December until eventually the winds and the rains knock them off. Then everything becomes muted browns and soft greens and foggy grays.
Fletcher even tries to get the friendly birds to put the leaves back on the tree.
When all the leaves have fallen off, Fletcher feels that he has failed his friend.
The next morning he discovers his tree covered with silver icicles. Winter has arrived and it’s breathtaking. “’You are more beautiful than ever,’ whispered Fletcher. ‘But are you all right?’
‘A tiny breeze shivered the branches, making a sound like laughter, and in the light of the rising sun, the sparkling branches nodded.’
Fletcher’s naive experience of the turning of the seasons is moving. He makes discoveries in nature with a childlike wonder that is ever so appealing. Paired with Beeke’s evocative illustrations, Rawlinson’s book is pure delight. I see that Rawlinson has written two other Fletcher stories as well: Fletcher and the Snowflake Christmas and Fletcher and the Springtime Blossoms. Both are also illustrated by Beeke.