Red, White, and Blue Cornbread
Leaf Burst Paintings

Fletcher and the Falling Leaves

By Julia Rawlinson
Illustrated by Tiphanie Beeke


This is a story young readers, especially those who don’t enjoy change, are certain to identify with and find very comforting. Young Fletcher the Fox is sweet and endearing and so very worried about his favorite tree. He doesn’t understand the effects of the changing season on the forest or his treasured friend and does everything he can to stop the inevitable changes from coming.

Fletcher and the Falling Leaves - Off the Shelf

The watercolor illustration are so full of depth that you feel Fletcher ‘s sorrow when you see his expression and know his sense of failure when the final leaf falls, despite his valiant efforts.

Fletcher and the Falling Leaves - Off the Shelf
Fletcher struggles to understand why he couldn’t help his friend and takes the leaf home with him, making a cozy little bed for it next to his own. As a parent, I found myself reliving those times when your child is hurting by feelings of failure and sadness and you are powerless to make the sadness stop and the hurt go away. 

Fletcher and the Falling Leaves - Off the Shelf

However, readers will rejoice with Fletcher when the final page is turned and a magical sight welcomes him when he visits his tree. This is a true celebration of the seasons, friendship, and the good that can come from change.  


In this Issue


Leaf Burst Paintings

Beautiful autumn leaves are so much fun to collect, but what to do with them once you bring them home? Try making Leaf Burst Paintings, of course!

This simple and quick painting activity helps young readers develop pre-writing skill by grasping the paintbrush and focusing on outward brush strokes as well as spatial skills by exploring positive and negative space.

The finished prints are quite fun to look at and we guarantee that creating just one won’t be nearly enough…kind of like collecting all those beautiful leaves!  

Leaf Burst Painting - Fletcher and the Falling Leaves - Off the Shelf

Leaf Burst Painting - Fletcher and the Falling Leaves - Off the Shelf

Leaf Burst Painting - Fletcher and the Falling Leaves - Off the Shelf

Leaf Burst Painting - Fletcher and the Falling Leaves - Off the Shelf

Leaf Burst Painting


  • Scotch tape
  • paper
  • paint
  • paintbrush
  1. Go for a nature walk and collect several leaves. The leaves should not be torn or have holes and not be too crunchy yet.
  2. Make a loop of scotch tape and attach the leaf to the piece of construction paper.
  3. Starting at the center of leaf paint outward strokes to cover the paper. It might help your young reader with the concept of painting outward by comparing it to the rays of the sun.
  4. Once the paint has been applied, carefully remove the leaf and allow to dry. 


Leaf Burst Painting Extensions

Here are some creative ways to display or transform your young reader's Leaf Burst Paintings. After all, the fridge shouldn't have all the fun!

The bunting would make a wonderful and festive Thanksgiving decoration, either displayed on the mantle or hanging on the banister. Your young reader will love that their own Leaf Book can be put on the shelf, and pulled out for your next nature walk!

Make a Leaf Burst Painting Garland

Leaf Burst Painting Garland - Fletcher and the Falling Leaves - Off the Shelf
Staple any number of finished sheets of Leaf Burst Paintings to a length of twill binding, raffia, ribbon, or any suitable material and hang as a festive autumn garland.

Leaf Book

My Leaf Book - Fletcher and the Falling Leaves - Off the Shelf

Identify the leaves collected to make the Leaf Burst Paintings and turn the paintings into a fun little book. Simply cut rectangles of construction paper to use as labels and help your young reader to print a tree name on each rectangle. Glue the rectangles under the matching leaf. Make a cover from construction paper and staple the leaf pages and cover together.



Fletcher's Warm Breakfast

Fletcher returns from seeing a magical sight to enjoy a warm breakfast. Here's a simply delicious breakfast for you to make with your young reader: French Toast Sticks with Roasted Apples.

French Toast Sticks with Roasted Apples - Fletcher and the Falling Leaves - Off the Shelf


Young Readers in the Kitchen

Kids can stir together the egg mixture, and then soak the bread slice for the French Toast. Once the apples are sliced, tossing them in the sugar and cinnamon is the perfect job for little hands. 


French Toast

Serves 1.


  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 slice whole wheat sandwich bread
  1. Beat eggs, milk, and cinnamon together in a bowl. Soak each side of bread in egg mixture.
  2. Spray a skillet with nonstick cooking spray, and place over medium heat. Add bread and cook each side until golden.
  3. Slice into sticks, and serve with maple syrup, or spread with fruited honeysweet potato butter, or cherry almond butter

French Toast Sticks with Roasted Apples - Fletcher and the Falling Leaves - Off the Shelf


Roasted Apples

Serves 2. Adapted from this recipe


  • 2 apples
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • sprinkling of cinnamon
  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  2. Stir together sugar and cinnamon in a bowl. 
  3. Slice each apple into 4 or 6 pieces. Add to bowl with cinnamon sugar and toss to coat. 
  4. Place apples on a baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes, tossing halfway through. 

Related Posts: Complete the meal with Miss Spider's Cinnamon Milk with TeaHot Vanilla for the Snowy Day, or Pooh's Hunny Hot Chocolate!

One Year Ago on Off the Shelf: Miss Suzy, by Miriam Young and illustrated by Arnold Lobel.


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What Do We Do All Day?

This is one of our favorite fall books for sure! I like all the Fletcher books. Thanks for linking up to The Children's Bookshelf.

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