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The Fall of Freddie the Leaf: A Story Of Life For All Ages
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The Fall of Freddie the Leaf: A Story Of Life For All Ages

4.28  ·  Rating details ·  1,423 ratings  ·  154 reviews
As Freddie experiences the changing seasons along with his companion leaves, he learns about the delicate balance between life and death.
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published September 15th 1982 by Slack (first published 1982)
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Average rating 4.28  · 
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 ·  1,423 ratings  ·  154 reviews

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Sep 30, 2019 rated it liked it
Sappy, and predictable . . . and, I still teared up at the end.

We're all just . . . mulch.
Rebecca McNutt
Got this book a few years back for reasons I'd rather not discuss. Anybody else besides me think that the title sounds more like a Godfatheresque film or something? "Freddie the Leaf, I'm gonna make you an offer you can't refuse!" But all joking aside, it's a beautiful story with wonderful, vivid illustrations, and a simple way to explain the concepts of grief and loss to younger readers.
Luisa Knight
You're best off not thinking of this as a children's story but as a humanistic sermon with a few non-enticing photos. I just don't see how kids would stay attentive (especially as it would be too over their heads), and I'm not sure that the parents I read for would embrace the message anyway.

If you're looking for a book to read to a child that addresses loss, please see my shelf "Children's Life Issues" for the books I highly recommend.

Ages: 4 -8

**Like my reviews? I also have hundreds of
Dec 04, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
absolutely beautiful allegory about the circle of life
Abby Pooch
May 14, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: children, bereavement
I am not the biggest fan of this book for several reasons.
1) Comparing human death to death in nature is often inappropriate because many plants go into hibernation in the fall and come back again in the spring. However, this book does present it in the most appropriate way possible, in that individual leaves are what dies on a tree. The individual leaves do not come back the next year.
2) The pages get too wordy trying to explain the story. The story line could have been explained in a much
May 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing

What did I think? I think sweet and wonderful. A very precious way to talk about life and death with children. With anybody, actually. I was supposed to read this together with one of my girlies, Mary Kate, but time got away from both of us, and I decided to go ahead and read it. We will have more times to read together.

This is a great book to share with your little ones, your big ones, your everybody. :)
May 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
The Fall of Freddie the Leaf: A Story of Life for All Ages by Leo Buscaglia is not a children’s book per se; rather the book is “an inspiring allegory [that] illustrates the delicate balance between life and death,” in a way that transcends the category of age. Nature becomes a metaphor for community, identity and the life cycle for Leo Buscaglia, who has crafted a story that looks past the need for any specific ideological comfort or message to answer end-of-life questions. Rather, Freddie the ...more
Aug 31, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This book makes me cry. It is an excellent choice when teaching children about the end of life for someone they love. It makes death a natural celebration of peace after a struggle to hang on to something that is no longer important. It speaks of a higher purpose in the circle of all things. Kinda sad though.
Aug 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: recommendations
I read this when I lost someone very close to me, a a child. It was incredibly helpful, and I have used it to help my children deal with loss.
Jennifer Miller
Sep 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This is the most beautiful book for children, or anyone dealing with the loss of a loved one.
May 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everybody
A lovely and sweet story about life and death.
By using the magic of nature: the trees, the leaves, the change of seasons, Leo Buscaglia tells us a story about ourselves, about our lives, about our purpose on this planet, which is simply that of "making things more pleasant for others", making other people happy, because when we do that we are experiencing life, which basically is love, in all its glory.
It's also a story about death, since death is part of life and for this reason is not to be
Tasneem  Zafer
Jan 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
A deeply touching story of Freddie the leaf going through life's changes (the passing seasons) and finally falling to the ground!! He keeps asking questions about life and death. Daniel the loving friend helps him through with his delicately wonderful and wisely confident answers!
It's an amazing book that helps adults answer real deep questions such as, will we all die? why were we here at all if we only have to fall and die? And where will we go after we die?

One of my favorite quotes by Daniel,
Good for children. Sad and poignant.
Jan 03, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: picture-books
Lovely photos, not so sure about the accompanying story. I've been looking for some good kids books about death/grieving, and this isn't quite what I'm looking for.
Melissa Jimenez
Sep 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The book that I chose to read is The Fall of Freddie the Leaf by Leo Buscaglia, PhD. It was published on September 15, 1982. This book shows the reader the journey a leaf goes through and the thoughts and feelings he experiences. He starts out young and strong and gradually he ages, the leaves around Freddie get scared, and Freddie sees the leaves fall around him until it’s his turn to fall. Much like the cycle of human life. I read this book to my daughter when she was five years old to help ...more
Brian Wilcox
Apr 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A superb introduction to death for children readers. As a Spiritual guide and Chaplain working with families in dying, death, grief process, I find this a helpful resource for adults and children.

I find this more helpful than the oft explanation that the loved one has gone somewhere else "up there." Such seems not to take death seriously enough as an ending, even if new beginning.

This resource provides analogy from nature the child can easily relate to in the here-and-now of his or her life.
Years ago, while working as a Barnes & Noble bookseller, my co-workers and I came across the charmingly-named The Fall of Freddie the Leaf amongst much weightier tomes in the nonfiction side of the store. The title intrigued us (and kind of cracked us up), and, since it looked like it belonged in the Children's section, we wondered if it was misplaced, so we picked it up.

Yes, the photos and layout are somewhat cheesy and amateurish, but I feel like the awkwardness adds to the quirky, sincere
Lance Eaton
Jul 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
My father had me read this when I was a kid and well, I read it to him when he was in the hospital dying. That might sound morbid but it is the best endorsement I can give this book as it is such a simple but powerful story about recognizing and accepting death despite how hard it can be. It has been an essential book for me in gaining any sense of comfort and closure in the passing of people in my life. The book uses a simple story of Freddie, a leaf who comes to life in the spring and enjoys a ...more
Quaker Maid
Oct 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I was walking in the backyard yesterday and, I swear, I think I saw Freddie on the ground!
Quite depressing book.
But it's five ***** because it's the reality of life.
Christians will not like this because it screams 'atheism' &/or 'reincarnation'.
I'm an atheist, so I can handle it.
I think kids might like it.
The pictures could be improved. Not much imagination put into that.
Overall, I like it because it's a real view on how life is. We live, we die, and we have no idea what happens after that
Lola Volkova
Apr 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
The story is so simple that we don’t expect any surprises from the story itself. While writing such a story, It’s more about how to write it than what to write. Every turning point is smooth and comforting, especially at the point of death. Every little one of us is part of a bigger plan. A leaf can only see the whole tree at the moment of death. I like the idea that death is the preparation of new life.
Nov 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
"Then what has been the reason for all of this?" Freddie continued to question. "Why were we here at all if we only have to fall and die?"

Daniel answered in his matter-of-fact way, "It's been about the sun and the moon. It's been about happy times together. It's been about the shade and the old people and the children. It's been about colors in Fall. It's been about seasons. Isn't that enough?"
My first Leo book was "Love" when I was a very young Marine. Opened a window to a part of personhood I had never been exposed to... Thirty-eight years later and I see that book as the starting point that lead me to school teaching, school teaching, counseling psychology, ministry work, and an approach to emergency medical services I would have never known. This wonderful book is a perfect gift for young people who have lost someone.
Nico Dodd
This is the saddest book I have ever read.
Laura Siegel
Nov 19, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: childrens
This was recommended to me as a book about death and grieving. But I don’t see it and I don’t believe children would draw the conclusion. Nice photos though.
A beautifully written and illustrated book about life.
Dec 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: in-library
Thoughtful non-religious children's book about death.
Jan 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
A wonderful story about the circle of life and the importance of each individual to the continuation of the whole creation.
Diane Kafka
Dec 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
So so comforting. This book is for all ages.
Ending Well
Feb 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s-books
A lovely book to read with children. It helps ground death in nature and its cycles, and reinforces the belief that through the natural universe nothing is ever lost.
Brooke Danielle
Nov 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Such a good story of life.
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known as "Dr. Love"

Dr. Felice Leonardo Buscaglia Ph.D. was a professor in the Department of Special Education at the University of Southern California. He was a graduate of Theodore Roosevelt High School (Los Angeles).

Leo Buscaglia authored a number of New York Times bestselling inspirational books on love and human reticences on the subject, including The Fall of Freddie the Leaf, Bus 9 to
“Every moment spent in unhappiness is a moment of happiness lost.” 45 likes
More quotes…