Leaf by Sandra Dieckmann

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Flying Eye Books, 2017. ISBN 9781911171317
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. Polar bears. Climate change. Hope. Difference. An animal floats into the bay, and finds a cave to shelter in. The animals all stay away from him, they have never seen anything like him before, and when he goes out into the forest and eats leaves, they run away. The other animals view him with suspicion, concerned that he is different. Everyday the creature they have called Leaf, is discussed amongst the other animals. One day they see him covered in beautiful leaves running through the forest. He leaps off the edge of the cliff but falls into the water, retreating to his cave. When he attempts this again and is lying exhausted on the shore, the crows decide to talk to him. He tells them that he is a polar bear and has drifted a long way from his home and desperately wants to go back. The crows work out a way that they can take the animal back to his own environment and the other animals decide to tell his story, so that no animal would ever get lost again.
Children will love hearing of the polar bear's plight and the way the animals are at first suspicious of something so different, relating it to their own classroom or neighbourhood, where someone new is not initially welcomed. The story of the animals working together to help the polar bear will encourage them to feel for the newcomer, and marvel at the way things can be resolved.
This story of the outsider is beautifully illustrated with brightly coloured detailed drawings that will entice younger readers to look more closely at the pages to see what they can see.
Fran Knight