How I Learned to Fall Out of Trees (Hardcover)
About the Author
— Kirkus Reviews
by Vincent X. Kirsch; illus. by the author
Primary Abrams 40 pp.
4/19 978-1-4197-3413-7 $16.99
Adelia and Roger are best friends, but Adelia is moving away. In a thoughtful effort to prepare Roger for her absence, Adelia teaches him how to climb a tree and, because he is concerned about it, “how to fall.” The left side of each spread in the book’s first half features third-person text and circular illustrations showing all the items Adelia is collecting; these items include not just soft feathers and leaves but the stuffed animals they once played with, the pillows they had used to make forts, etc. The right side of the book features Adelia’s instructions to Roger, depicted in speech balloons. Her helpful advice can be read on more than one level: instructions such as “hang on tight with both hands” and “when you’re ready, climb up to the next branch” make good guidelines for life as well as tree-climbing. The pacing slows in the last six spreads, as Roger reluctantly says goodbye (“Letting go will be the hardest part”) and climbs the tree. But, knowing that Adelia had prepared to lessen the pain of his fall in more ways than one, he falls with a smile into the pile of soft objects Adelia had been gathering. Kirsch’s story spans the seasons; the endpapers subtly depict the passage of time via leaves changing color from spring and summer to autumn. This tender story, sweet without being saccharine, is an eloquent metaphor for saying goodbye and allowing memories to cushion the blow.
— The Horn Book
This delightful family read aloud skillfully weaves empathy, compassion and family into a beautifully realized story – universal and timeless – I dare say a new classic, in the mold of Charlotte’s Web (without the talking animals). Ten-year old Louie is trying his best to save a mini-donkey, he named Winston, who was born prematurely and whose mother died giving birth. Louie’s track record is not so good at keeping animals in his care alive, but he has faith in Winslow and gives him everything he has – most especially his love. Louie is sure Winslow will survive, and uses his plight as connection to his older brother Gus’ absence serving in the army. Strong, fully developed characters come to life in Creech’s vividly, and deceptively short novel which will stay with you long after the satisfying last page. - Maureen