Quote of the Month

When love and skill work together, expect a miracle. John Ruskin

Monday, November 13, 2017

From a Blaze of Brilliance to a Blanket of White

With every gust of wind they rain down faster.  Swirls of gold, red, orange, brown and faded green fall.  A patchwork pattern of overlapping leaves covers the grass.  These colorful showers signal the passage of time in autumn 2017.  Only thirty-eight days remain until the arrival of the winter solstice.

There are now entire trees with bare branches lifting toward crystal blue skies one day and cloudy, gray vistas the next day.  September and October are memories.  Full of Fall (Beach Lane Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing Division, August 29, 2017) written and illustrated by April Pulley Sayre represents through poetic phrases and her signature photography the changes we witness as one season passes into the next.

September sun 
is low in the sky.

So long, summer.
Green, goodbye!

Whether you look at a large landscape as you travel down a path or road or focus on a single leaf in your own backyard, they herald change.  They are a reflection of what was and what will be.  The individual shapes of each tree are now outlined in their respective hues.

Shades of yellow, gold, orange and red hang like Nature's jewels on rough boughs of brown.  A canopy of color provides shelter from sun or rain.  Ponds, streams, rivers and lakes capture the array.

Run your hands over the bark on trunks.  Close your eyes and feel a single leaf or hold one up to the light filtering through the trees.  What message do they bring?

Soon the assistance leaves supply to trees is finished.  They let them go.  Now they nurture the dirt and water in a necessary cycle.  Their brilliance fades.  It's coming.  Snow.

As an astute observer of the world in which we live, April Pulley Sayre asks us, through her words, to notice the seasonal shift.  During those ninety days as our world spins from summer's end to autumn and then to winter, many small events contribute to the grand scheme.  Each one plays a significant part.

A series of phrases are joined by her rhyming words.  Some only have one or two words.  Others have six or seven. The cadences they create invite us to join her as we walk through the days of autumn.  Here is another sample passage.

Trees are ready.
Twigs let go.

Leaves slip
and spin.

Wind sweeps---
leaves blow!

Beginning with the opened, matching dust jacket and book case, we experience the full majesty of the transformation of autumn.  As you run your fingers over the front of the jacket, the title text is raised.  The large maple leaf has been given a matte finish in contrast to the glossy background.  It's as if we are touching a real leaf.  To the left, on the back, a squirrel scampers along a downed branch among a carpet of fallen yellow and brown leaves. 

The opening and closing endpapers are a rich, rusty orange.  On the title page an ancient stump, rings ragged and wide, provides a background for fallen leaves and text.  With each page turn a photograph raises our awareness of the variations revealed during this season. 

The point of view, through her camera lens, has us gazing through a field of browning grasses, light tipping the tops, watching closely as a squirrel grasps grass with edges blurred, or standing on the side of a pond, gasping in awe at the opposite shore lined with red, orange and yellow trees, their hues reflected in the water.  Some of the pictures span two pages and others are group by two or three.  The multiple illustrations on two pages are separated by thin white lines.  The placement of text is perfection.

One of my many favorite pictures spans two pages.  We are looking along a rough trunk of a tree upward as the branches stretch from page edge to page edge.  Patches of blue sky can be seen through the tiny yellow, gold and slightly green leaves.  It's absolutely exquisite.

April Pulley Sayre has a gift as a master poet and photographer.  She weaves words and images together in Full of Fall to fashion a sensory experience for readers.  This title, with the companion books, Raindrops Roll and Best in Snow, should be in every professional and personal collection.  At the close of the book two pages offer scientific explanations for particular phrases relative to leaves.  April Pulley Sayre also talks about Fall around the world and Never the same show.  She includes resources on the final page, an image of two beautiful leaves on bark.

To learn more about April Pulley Sayre and her other work, please visit her website by following the link attached to her name.  You will enjoy the backstory associated with this title.  At the publisher's website you can view several beginning interior pages along with the explanation pages at the close of the book. April Pulley Sayre is interviewed at PictureBookBuilders about this title.

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