Friday, February 03, 2012

Poetry Friday -- A LEAF CAN BE...

A Leaf Can Be...
by Laura Purdie Salas
illustrated by Violeta Dabija
Millbrook Press, 2012

In a rhyming text, accompanied by luminously illustrated pictures, Laura Purdie Salas explores all the things a leaf can be throughout the seasons.

"A leaf is a leaf.
It bursts out each spring
when sunny days linger
and orioles sing.

A leaf can be a...
soft cradle
water ladle
sun taker
food maker
tree topper
rain stopper"

Each pair of words invites the reader to think again about all that leaves can do. In the back of the book, there is a bit more information about each of the leaf jobs in the book, written with young scientists in mind:

"Food maker: Along with sunlight, leaves take in air and water. They turn these things into food for the plant or the tree. This is called photosynthesis."

There's so much to love about this book! I keep going back over and over again to the illustrations. ("Snake concealer" is my favorite!)

It makes me want to try to write a series of rhyming word pairs -- I'm pretty sure it's not as easy as Laura makes it look!

I want to pair this book with A Sock is a Pocket for Your Toes by Liz Scanlon and have students compare and contrast the way these poets crafted their metaphors.

In fact, this book is a great example of an extended metaphor, and I'm always on the lookout for ways to help readers understand and identify metaphors, and to help writers try to incorporate them in their writing.

Another great addition to my classroom library from Laura Purdie Salas!

Karissa has the Poetry Friday roundup today at The Iris Chronicles.


  1. Wow--thanks, Mary Lee! So nice of you to feature LEAF, and I love the approaches educators are sharing about using it in the classroom. I have a teaching guide here, too:

    What a lovely way to start a Friday. Thank you!

  2. It is a beautiful book and full of cleverness! I like your idea of the pairing! Primary teachers will love these books. Thanks!

  3. Oh, this looks fantastic! Thanks for featuring, Mary Lee, and congratulations to Laura. What gorgeous art, too. The "leaves" of this volume will soon be joining my poetry shelf....

  4. Makes me want to try rhyming word pairs, too, Mary Lee, but like you, I'm pretty sure it's tougher than Laura lets on! Beautiful cover.

  5. Thanks for the review, ML! I've been curious about this one and can't wait to see it. Looks fun, informative, and gorgeous all at the same time.

  6. Mary Lee,

    Laura showed me this book when we were at NCTE in Chicago last fall. I loved the book--both the text and the art.

  7. Can't wait to pick up this book, Mary Lee - it sounds wonderful!

  8. Trees are one of my favorite subjects, so I have been especially excited about this book. Thanks for your thoughts on it. Metaphor can certainly be tough to explain.

  9. I have a feeling that I'd love this book as well - I've been seeing Laura's A Leaf can be in a few other posts both for nonfiction Monday and Poetry Friday - sounds really luscious. I smiled a little bit when I saw 'snake concealer' - I just discovered a snake (striped kukri snake) inside my house three nights ago - it was shocking, scary and exciting all in the same breath. Thank you for sharing this. :)

  10. The cover of this collection just inviting. I love your idea for poetry pairings and a study of extended metaphor. As Myra said, Laura's book has popped up in many recent reviews, and will be a great addition to my classroom library. Thanks for sharing this, Mary Lee!

  11. Thanks-- you've just put "A Leaf..." on my must-buy list.

    Peace, Mari

  12. I think I NEED this book. OH WAIT! I'm not buying books. I'm sending a child to college. But I really do NEED this book!


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