FICTION
How I Learned to Fall Out of Trees
Abrams. Apr. 2019. 40p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781419734137.
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K-Gr 2–Adelia promises bespectacled Roger that she’ll teach him how to climb a tree before she moves away. In spring, they gather feathers for cushions as she begins coaching him at their favorite tree. In summer, they bring stuffed toys and fort-making pillows for security during instruction. In autumn, Adelia offers suggestions as the pair collect soft winter outerwear for padding, and pack up her moving boxes. As Adelia rides away, Roger asks “What if I fall?” Her reply: “Falling will be easy. Letting go will be the hardest part.” Indeed, Roger leaves even his faithful teddy bear to successfully climb the now-snowy tree, but finds that letting go in any respect is not easy at all. Kirsch’s tender tale is illustrated in seasonal watercolors and ink with cut tracing. Jolly scenes like the children packed in boxes with gloves on feet and eyes peering out balance the melancholy to come.
VERDICT The double meaning of the tale’s finale may require explanation but the story and illustrations are a champion team, like Adelia and Roger

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