Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

One Leaf Rides the Wind

One Leaf Rides the Wind

Celeste Davidson Mannis
Illustrator:  Susan Kathleen Hartung 
Poetry Picture Book
For ages 5 to 7
Penguin, 2005   ISBN: 978-0756952136

Japanese gardens are places that have been carefully designed to create an environment that is peaceful and beautiful. They give the visitor the opportunity to take a break from the rigors of everyday life, and to connect with nature. In such a garden visitors can find the quiet that they need to “find that world of peace and tranquility within themselves.”

   In this beautiful book readers can visit just such a garden with a little girl. In her company we see a leaf that “rides the wind,” and that moves so fast that she cannot catch it. We see two stone temple dogs, which she feels are “snarling over my shoulder.” The dogs will guard the garden from any kind of disaster.

   In the garden a collection of miniature bonsai trees make the little girl feel tall. She sees four birds take flight when a cat prowling on a roof scares them. The little girl visits a tea house where she finds a tray on which “seven sweet surprises lie.” After her snack she goes back outside where more delights await her.

   In this gorgeous book every spread offers readers a beautiful illustration, a haiku poem, and a short description of the garden feature that is being shown on those pages. A pair of notes at the back of the book tell readers what Japanese gardens are like, and what haiku poems are.

   This special poetry collection will give readers a taste of Japan that will stay with the reader long after the book has been read and its covers have been closed.