The Gold Leaf by Kirsten Hall, illustrations by Matthew Forsythe


    The Gold Leaf by Kirsten Hall, illustrations by Matthew Forsythe, Enchanted Lion, 2017. 9781592702145

Format: Hardcover

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4

Genre:  Picture book

What did you like about the book? Among the many beautiful green tones of spring in the forest, a gold leaf appears and mesmerizes the animals. Each animal claims it for her own, until the leaf is torn to pieces. The next spring the beautiful gold leaf appears once more, and this time the animals respect its beauty. Absolutely gorgeous illustrations, impressionistic and organic, make this book a standout. Spare poetic prose allows the illustrations to tell the story. An author’s note tells about gold leafing, and about how her grandfather was responsible for the gilding of several buildings in New York City.

Anything you didn’t like about it? The text sometimes confuses in its simplicity: “Amid all of the newness and excitement, no one caught sight of something most unusual. Something that shone and sparkled. / A gold leaf! / Each wanted it more than anything else in the world.” If no one saw it, how could they desire it? At the end, when the leaf reappears the next spring: “… this time, no one wanted the gold leaf. / Their happiness was that it had come back to them after all.” The message is that no wanted to possess the leaf, but the text makes it seem like the animals did not want it to come back. Am I being too picky? The story works well in illustrations alone.

To whom would you recommend this book?  Offer this to families who enjoy lyrical, nature-focused picture books.

Who should buy this book? Elementary school and public libraries

Where would you shelve it ? Picture books

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Stephanie Tournas, Robbins Library, Arlington, MA

Date of review: July 24, 2017

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