The Fall of Freddie the Leaf...it really is A Story of Life for All Ages
Pros: Wonderful photos, Tender Message, Easy to read.
The Bottom Line: This is a wonderfully warm and loving story about the purpose of life, and the delicate balance between life and death.
kamel622's Full Review:
Not too long ago I read a wonderful review by Lark729_89 on a great book by Leo Buscaglia, Ph.D. called the Fall of Freddie the Leaf- A Story of Life for All Ages. I immediately put a hold on it at our interlibrary and was surprised that they notified me very shortly after that the book was in and being held for me.
I want to thank Carol so much for introducing it to me, through her great Epinion.
I wasn't sure if our daycare children would sit and listen to this book, and seeing how long of a story it is I thought that it may be a bit much for them. Funny thing is, my daughter (Chalathra on Epinions) quickly became excited when I asked who wanted to hear this book...and ran to the couch to sit next to me and listen. Hey, they are never too old to be read to. :)
It starts out simply enough, we are introduced to the main 'character' Freddie, the leaf. The story starts out telling us how Freddie had first appeared in the Spring as a small sprout on a large branch near the top of a tree.
He was surrounded by other leaves just like himself, but quickly realized that no two leaves were the same. He had friends around him that he grew up with, Alfred, Ben and Clare all loved to bask lazily in the summer sun and wash off in the cool rain. They had all learned to dance in Spring breeze together too.
His best friend was Daniel. Daniel was the biggest and wisest leaf, knowing that they were all a part of a tree and that they were in a Public Park and that the strong roots were growing under the ground. He explained about the sun, the moon, the stars, the birds and the seasons.
Daniel explained to Freddie that giving shade was a part of his purpose. Freddie had a hard time understanding what a purpose was.
"A reason for being," Daniel had answered. "To make things more pleasant for others is a reason for being. To make shade for old people who come to escape the heat in their homes is a reason for being. To provide a cool place for children to come and play. To fan with our leaves the picnickers who come to eat on checkered tablecloths. These are all reasons for being."
Very quickly Summer passed, and suddenly the October nights were so cold. Daniel again explained what was happening and that soon it would be Winter. Suddenly all of the leaves turned into a blaze of color. Freddie didn't understand this either until Daniel explained to him that all of the leaves had different experiences and faced the sun differently and cast shadows differently and so having different colors was the most natural thing in the world.
The cold winds that blew were tearing leaves off of the branches and tossed softly to the ground. All of the leaves became frightened but Daniel explained that this was very natural too. That in the Fall leaves change their home. That some people call it to die.
Daniel went on to explain that although they did not know where they would go when they died and everyone fears what they don't know but he also encouraged Freddie and the other leaves that Life is stronger then them and even the tree. He explained that Life continues on and even though they will all fall they have brought joy to others and had a purpose.
As the leaves all kept falling Daniel finally let go and fell too, until Freddie was alone on the tree.
*Spoiler coming stop here if you don't want to hear the ending*
The following morning, the first snow fell and a dawn wind took Freddie from his branch. He floated gently downward and saw for the first time the whole tree. He landed in a clump of snow and was the most comfortable he had ever been. He slept, not knowing that as the snow melted his brittle dried self would join with the water to make the tree stronger and that already there were plans for new leaves in the Spring. The Beginning.
This book does not have drawings, but rather actual photographs of trees and leaves and all of the color of Fall. These photos are exceptional and really add to this story.
The last page shows a blue sky and a bare tree with a lone bird in it with the words The Beginning. written in bottom corner. This is such an awesome looking page with such a warm feeling to it.
The text is a medium-large black font that is printed on white background only. I always appreciate that in books that I read because it makes it easier for these old eyes to read.
I was really excited about checking this book out of the library. I have long been a fan of Leo Buscaglia's and have several of his cassette tapes from years ago. I was not disappointed in any way.
The story is such a gentle and loving one, and yet has such deep meaning that can easily help children understand about the Seasons of Life, as well as help them to understand the transition of death. I don't think that our 3 year olds totally understood this story, but I think that if this was a book that a child had on their bookshelf and had it read to them periodically the meaning would become clearer and clearer.
I also loved that the book talked a great deal about what Freddie's purpose was. I loved that Daniel let Freddie know that he was important and that he had a real reason for being. This is a message that I feel is very important for children, and for adults as well.
The photos in this book are excellent also. I'm sure that finding just the right shots and placing them in just the right spot was a difficult endeavor, and yet once completed give this book such a warm and endearing quality. It makes the story feel so real to see actual children underneath a tree playing.
The children at times had a hard time sitting still for this story, so we broke it up into two different readings, but my daughter and I were so enthralled by Freddie and could hardly wait to hear the ending.
Nuts & Bolts
the Fall of Freddie the Leaf-A Story of Life for All Ages is 32 wonderful pages that were written by Leo Buscaglia, Ph.D. Some of his other wonderful books include Living, Loving & Learning, Love, Because I Am Human, The Way of the Bull, The Disabled and Their Parents: A Counseling Challenge and Personhood. has also made many wonderfully uplifting cassette tapes and was a great inspirational speaker.
The photographs were taken by: Anthony Frizano, Greg Ludwig, Ken Noack, Bobbie Probstein and Misty Todd-Slack.
This book was published in 1982 by SLACK Incorporated with a jacket price of $11.95 for this hardback version. This book can also be purchased at BAMM.com for $9.56.
The age recommendations for this book is 4-8 years old, however I feel that children as young as 3 can enjoy it, and I see no reason to eliminate anyone as too old for this simple yet poignant book.