Story time in autumn is always fun. The plethora of books on trees, sweaters, school, winter preparation, pumpkins, Halloween and Thanksgiving just deepen our revelry of all that is delicious about this season. In fact, there is one picture book that I have been patiently waiting all year to share with my Kindergarteners.
Fall Is Not Easy by Marty Kelley is a deceptively simple book; yet, it really stands out from the crowd. It is the only autumn book whose narrator is the tree. In fact, among all the hundreds of wonderful books that feature trees only one other comes to mind where a tree has been given voice, Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree.
Kelley’s tree is not self-sacrificing like our beloved Giving Tree. Rather, this tree is very self-centered, not unlike our young audience, or, to be fair, any of us when faced with a reoccurring event we have come to dread.
At its core, Fall is about change. We all handle change differently and each change differently from the previous. Fall flat-out states that change is not easy and gives us permission to detest it. Yet, the illustrations show us something else entirely. Change can often bring about unexpected pleasures and delights we don’t see or appreciate in the moment. Humor can be found in change. We may even succeed in a most astonishing way at a feat we could never have planned or even imagined for ourselves.
I’m missing even deeper metaphors I’m sure. Your favorite library is likely the only place it can still be found, as it is thirteen years old now; and yet, it feels as crisp and taut as an autumn wind.