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A Leaf Can Be...

4.21  ·  Rating Details  ·  570 Ratings  ·  130 Reviews
A leaf can be a . . .
Shade spiller
Mouth filler
Tree topper
Rain stopper

Find out about the many roles leaves play in this poetic exploration of leaves throughout the year.
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published February 1st 2012 by Millbrook Press (first published January 1st 2012)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,056)
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Leaves are "sun takers" and "food makers", "air cleaners" and "Earth greeners". Laura Purdie Salas' delightful word choices and Violeta Dabija's round, joyful illustrations celebrate the many roles that leaves play in Nature. In the back, Saldas explains each phrase with additional information about leaves and includes a short glossary of scientific terms.
Oct 14, 2014 Ewa rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
If you want to explore the nature, the book by Laura Purdie Salas is a must have starter. You will not only learn about the leaf, you will also learn about different animals while observing the leaf during different times of the year. And even though “a leaf is a leaf – a bit of a tree” might seem quite uninteresting focal point, it really is a great tool to introduce life and physical science topics.
Personally I love the digitally inspired illustrations that add to the magic to what “a leaf ca
Feb 28, 2012 Barbara rated it it was amazing
In poetic language and simple rhyming text, the author extolls the many uses of a leaf. The words she chooses are delightful, imaginative, and downright fun to say; for instance, she describes a leaf as a "soft cradle" (unpaginated) paired with a "water ladle" (unpaginated), and a "frost catcher" paired with a "moth matcher" (unpaginated). While some of these creations are fairly obvious, others are quite original and will aid readers in seeing leaves differently. Backmatter includes explanation ...more
Sarah W
Feb 15, 2012 Sarah W rated it really liked it
A Leaf Can Be is imaginative nonfiction at its best. By exploring the different jobs a leaf could have from mouth filler to ground warmer, rain stopper to nest warmer this book is a great discussion starter to use with children to see if they can think of other jobs leafs play in nature or as an jumping to board to create fiction based on one of these jobs. This book also lends itself well to studying the seasons as all four seasons are represented in this book as well.

Violetta Dabija has create
Nicole Doerr
Mar 04, 2012 Nicole Doerr rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s-lit
This is a beautifully illustrated poem book. The pictures are dreamlike. It is intended for preschoolers and school age children. It describes the roles of leaves, from “sun takers” to “ food makers.” The words are filled with fun rhymes. The text is simple enough for a beginning reader and the back includes a glossary of unknown words. This is a very informative poem book which could be used to teach a lesson on nature. Even with it's two worded rhymes, it can be used for older children as well ...more
Paul  Hankins
Salas presents some of the things a leaf can be with delightful, whimsical illustrations by Violeta Dabija that present the "can be" elements on facing pages.

One of my favorite spreads depicts a child under a tree with the words, "shade spiller". The facing page shows a giraffe at twilight with the words, "mouth filler."

The back of the book offers non-fiction approaches to explanations of how a life can be that particular "thing."

Pair this one up with classic picture books like Lois Ehlert's
Andrea Gray
Oct 07, 2013 Andrea Gray rated it really liked it
Grades K-3

A Leaf Can Laura Purdie Salas and illustrated by Violeta Dabija is a delightful book explaining, in simple rhymes, all the different roles a leaf takes on. The rhythmic choice of words are catchy and make the reader say them in an almost a sing-songy voice. The words, although simple, are imaginative and creative with beautiful illustrations that go along with them. This book offers a couple of added bonuses. In the back there is a glossary of terms containing words that stude
Apr 16, 2015 Deborah rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
So I was walking through the NCTE exhibition hall and someone from Millbrook publishing handed me this book (FREE!!) and said the author was signing. Okay--I don't pass up free books. What teacher does? I opened it and couldn't believe it. They were giving this book away??? How had I not heard of it?(I did get it signed, by the way, and Laura--the author--loves for her books to be used as mentors for student writers). Then, last session of NCTE when language arts awards were given out for nonfic ...more
Anna Kozlowska
Nov 01, 2015 Anna Kozlowska rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry-books
I read “A Leaf Can Be…” by Laura Purdie Salas for my second children’s poetry book. The author is a Golden Kite Award recipient for a Picture Book Text. The book is illustrated by Violeta Dabija, who lives in Moldova, a small Eastern European country who draws her inspiration from the sound of the breeze through the green branches, the smell of the warm spring rain, and the birds singing on blossoming trees. This book is very educational as it describes the many roles a leaf can have throughout ...more
The Styling Librarian
Jul 08, 2012 The Styling Librarian rated it it was amazing
Completely beautiful book that felt informative and lyrical at the same time. The peaceful illustrations pulled you through the book and the information provided at the end of the book was the cherry topping!
Jan 03, 2012 Katrina rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
Who knew how versatile a simple leaf could be? With beautiful illustrations and captivating language, Salas creates a story that children will enjoy while learning the science of leaves.
Ralf Urbach
Oct 13, 2013 Ralf Urbach rated it really liked it
Beautiful pictures to accompany a great teaching tool about the seasons. Another happy rhyming book that leaves you humming tunes to yourself. My daughter enjoyed this one immensely.
Mary Lee
See all those shelves I put this book on? First and foremost, it is poetic. But within the poetry is science. The illustrations are gorgeous and add to the total package. Great book!
Niki (Daydream Reader)
One of my students wanted me to read this as a read aloud. So glad I did! Great nonfiction picture book! I loved the pictures and word choice.
Carrie Gelson
Such lovely images. Pokes the imagination fully awake.
Jun 13, 2014 Danielle rated it it was amazing
A Leaf Can Be... is a fabulous book about all the uses of a leaf. This book is similar to The Quiet Book in that it gets the reader thinking of all the ways one thing can be used. The spreads are gorgeous and can be used as an example in art. The reader of A Leaf Can Be... can easily notice that the lines on each page rhyme. This book is written in a poetic way which readers can use as a model when writing their own stories or poems. Readers can also use this book as a model in creating their ow ...more
Edward Sullivan
Feb 14, 2012 Edward Sullivan rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
Lovely verse and illustrations.
Nov 12, 2012 David rated it really liked it
A Leaf Can Be... by Laura Purdie Salas, illustrated by Violeta Dabija, is a poetic explanation of the many roles a leaf may fill.

Dabija's glowing, peaceful illustrations highlight the brief text, particularly the pages with rhyming couplets, such as soft craddle, leaf laddle, or air cleaner, earth greener. Some pages seem to have texture. My favorite images are soft craddle, tree topper, skin welter, shade spiller, earth greener, hill glow-er, frost catcher, and discover.

Salas' simple, whimsical
Vidya Tiru
Feb 16, 2012 Vidya Tiru rated it it was amazing
A wonderful book that shows very simply and beautifully, in flowing rhymes with soft, whimsical, yet vibrant illustrations that a leaf is not just a leaf – it is and can be many different things – other than the obvious. It can, of course be, a sun-taker, and it can also be a moth-matcher!
The book takes us through the seasons to show the many faces of the leaf during the many phases of the year. Author Laura Purdie Salas and illustrator Violeta Dabija have blended their talents to bring together
Sue Morris
Rhyming text and illustrations explore some of the many things a leaf can be, from tree topper to rain stopper. Includes facts about leafs and a glossary.

A leaf is a leaf—
A bit of a tree.
But just try to guess
What else it can be!

This book, A Leaf Can Be . . . is a feast for your eyes. Astonishingly beautiful seen on a computer, I can only imagine what this book looks like in print. Told in rhyming text and illustrations that need each other to work as wonderfully as they do in A Leaf Can Be . . .
Sandi Rossman
Sep 09, 2013 Sandi Rossman rated it really liked it
Shelves: libs-642
I reviewed this book for the choice category (picture book assignment). The source was the Teachers' Choices 2013 Reading List.

A Leaf Can Be is a beautiful combination of poetry and science that both entertains the young reader with rhyming action while simultaneously teaching children about the many, diverse roles of leaves: making food, riding the wind, and concealing snakes. The rhyming action of the words propels the reader forward through the pages of the book just as the seasons move throu
I am sitting here thinking, how did this book not win an award? It is beautifully illustrated and such an clever book about all the things a leaf can be to people, animals, the environment, the earth. Plus it is written in rhyme. :-) I learned so much with it simple, but informative text, written in story/journey formation. At the end of the book it gives more information about how a leaf is a "soft cradle", "water ladle", etc. A great addition to the classroom and to a lesson about plants.
Great book! The illustrations are phenomenal—they really enhance this beautiful story told in few words. The artist did a great job showing movement on the page as well as capturing the real-feel of the seasons. I liked the rhyming although some felt a little far-fetched, but it was still really cute. The extra facts on the different types of leaves, at the end of the book, were a nice touch, as was the glossary.
Apr 29, 2014 Margie rated it it was amazing
Let us hope that A Leaf Can Be... and Water Can Be... written by Laura Purdie Salas with illustrations by Violeta Dabija are the first two of many collaborations. These books are breathtaking in word and pictures. Read them for the quiet pleasure they bring. Read them for the information they provide. Read them to see a leaf and water in a new light. Most of all, share them with everyone often!
My full review:
Samuel Inskeep
Mar 29, 2015 Samuel Inskeep rated it really liked it
Shelves: book-selection
This was a beautiful book, with extremely well drawn pictures. This would be incredibly useful in any science class, or teaching the children that nothing is ever as it seems. Unfortunately, there is a chance that you may be humming the words of the book hours after you stopped reading it. It really is quite catchy!
Meagan Myhren-bennett
Feb 05, 2012 Meagan Myhren-bennett rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Home Schoolers, Families, School Libraries, Public Libraries
A Leaf Can Be...
By Laura Purdie Salas
Illustrations by Violeta Dabija

In simple but descriptive language the various functions of leaves are shown.
The first section illustrations with one to two words name the various jobs of leaves in nature.
The second section describes the functions and purpose of the different jobs.
The final section is a glossary of the terms used in the book and suggestions for further reading on leaves.

The poetic rhythm and illustrations will capture the attention of young li
Ms Threlkeld
Mar 24, 2015 Ms Threlkeld rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
The text seems simple until you realize how many concepts it covers and that some of the vocabulary is fairly challenging. Great introduction to leaves and all they do and can be. This could lead into a wonderful writing activity where students pick an object found in nature and identify all of the jobs it has.
Oct 22, 2014 Paul rated it it was ok
Shelves: childrens-lit, poetry
I like the concept of playfully exploring with all the functions a leaf can have - the list is pretty inventive and could take the reader on their own journey further - but for me the illustrations were a bit too cute and the concept never took off successfully.
Carol Royce Owen
Feb 03, 2015 Carol Royce Owen rated it it was amazing
I'm already thinking of the fun I'm going to have using this book with some young students to get them to think outside of the box. Laura Purdie Salas has written a delightful book to show all the wonderful purposes for leaves.
Joan Marie
Jan 26, 2016 Joan Marie rated it it was amazing
A very simple, poetic and to-the-point explanation of the role of a leaf. Back matter adds depth to text, glossary adds scientific basis. A wonderful addition to a science shelf in the early elementary classroom.
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Laura Purdie Salas is the author of more than 120 books for kids and teens, including WATER CAN BE... (Millbrook, 2014), A LEAF CAN BE... (Millbrook, 2012), and BOOKSPEAK! POEMS ABOUT BOOKS (Clarion, 2011). She loves to introduce kids to poetry and help them find poems they can relate to, no matter what their age, mood, and personality.

Laura is a mentor for hire (, a cupcake an
More about Laura Purdie Salas...

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