In the fall months you’ll likely go in search of books that tell stories about autumn and all the things that we associated with this season of the year:
- Changing leaf colors on trees
- Falling leaves
- Cooler temperatures
- The harvest
- Fall foods like apples and apple cider
The Fox and the Falling Leaves is a perfect book for this time of year
It tells the story of Fletcher, a young fox, his love for his friend (who happens to be a tree), and what happens to both of them when autumn arrives.
It’s what is called a seasons book. Seasons books help us introduce children to the seasons and what happens during each of these times of year.
The tone of this story is very sweet and caring. Fletcher is quite worried for his friend the tree when the tree starts to lose a leaf or too.
It’s Fletcher’s first fall. He’s a young fox and he doesn’t understand what is happening to his tree. You can imagine his concern! Throughout the story, as he cares for his tree and tries to fix the situation, he (and the readers) learn about what happens to many trees during fall. And that it is okay for the tree.
While the story is specifically about autumn and how trees lose their leaves during the fall – you will find other layers of meaning in this tale as well. Stories that are layered deliver more messages to us than what we see at face value. It takes great skill to write a well-layered story for children, especially a picture book which often uses very few words, 500 or less.
As a result of this layering The Fox and the Falling Leaves is a good book to read with children when something disruptive is going on around them. Something that could worry them or make them a little fearful.
Reading stories like this one can build their social and emotional skills, also called SEL learning. Help them with the experience of working through an experience that causes them concern.
How We Found This Book
We got this book from a Scholastic Book order at our school. Scholastic does a wonderful job curating books for children. When you think of the vast numbers of books that come into schools as a result of Scholastic you can appreciate their impact on connecting children with books. They are attentive to the books the kids are interested in, not just those that adults feel will succeed. When kids see books on the shelves that they want to read it encourages them and values their choices.
I love when books have endpapers. And I love beautiful endpaper art. I always call attention to endpapers when I read books aloud.
Even here in a paperback book we discovered some beautiful endpapers. Scholastic preserved these pages and kept them in the paperback edition of the story.
See below for a snapshot of the beautiful opening end papers from The Fox and the Falling Leaves. From the copyright page we discovered that the illustrator Tiphanie Beeke used pastels to prepare this full-color art. The pastels create such soft illustrations. They are a beautiful complement to the gentle nature of the story.
Tip: We always look at the copyright page to learn more about the book.
How We Expanded From the Story
I am always looking for ways to expand from a story into other learning. It’s not an absolute requirement for every story we read. If it doesn’t happen I’m completely fine with it.
But when kids love a story they are genuinely interested in the story topics. Producing a natural motivation to learn more about the contents of the story. The learning feels easy and seemless.
Expanding by Creating Art in the Illustrator’s Style and Medium
When we read this story at our house the thing my child wanted to do was to make art the same way the illustrator did. So we created pictures in the style of Tiphanie Beeke’s illustrations.
Here’s a tree drawn by my son, done in oil pastels. He took his inspiration from the end papers of the book (see above). He added some detail in red pencil and black pen. Which was fun because doing so meant he was working in “mixed media” and that gave us a chance to talk about what media are in art and what mixed media can look like.
Other ways you can add on activities from this book include:
- Play in a leaf pile
- Collect leaves and examine how they are alike and what makes them difference
- Visit a zoo to see real live foxes
Here is a view of the copyright page from the book and its notes about the illustrations and font.
This book is a picture book written by Julia Rawlinson and illustrated by Tiphanie Beeke. It was first published in 2006 by Greenwillow Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. The original title was Fletcher and the Falling Leaves.
Scholastic published this story by arrangement with Greenwillow Books. Many of the books you purchase from Scholastic are reprinted by arrangement with the original publishers.
This story is great for
- talking with children about the fall season
- children in pre-kindergarten, kindergarten and first grades
- as a read-aloud
The full-color art in the book was created using pastels. The text type is Glouces Old Style.
Want to Read The Fox and the Falling Leaves?
Here are a few ways you can get a copy to read with your kids:
Check out the book from your local library. This picture book is popular among children’s librarians and educators, so it’s likely your library will have the book in their collection. Keep in mind that the library copy may be under the book’s original title Fletcher and the Falling Leaves.
Buy a copy from:
- Amazon (as Fletcher and the Falling Leaves)
- Barnes and Noble (as Fletcher and the Falling Leaves)
- In your Scholastic book order
More Fletcher Fun!
Author Julia Rawlinson and illustrator Tiphanie Beeke kindly take us along on more adventures with Fletcher as the young fox explores the other three seasons:
- Fletcher and the Snowflake Christmas
- Fletcher and the Springtime Blossoms
- Fletcher and the Summer Show