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Alternate Activity 1: Picture Book Story – Seasonal Transformations

Alternate Activity 1: Picture Book Story – Seasonal Transformations
Alternate Activity 1: Picture Book Story – Seasonal Transformations

Activity time: 10 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • The picture book The Fall of Freddie the Leaf by Leo Buscaglia (Slack Incorporated, 1982)
  • Optional: A different picture book about seasonal change, such as Fletcher and the Falling Leaves by Julia Rawlinson, illustrated by Tiphanie Beeke (Greenwillow Books, 2006); or Leaves by David Ezra Stein (Putnam, 2007)

Preparation for Activity

  • Obtain The Fall of Freddie the Leaf from your local library or another source. Or, choose another picture book about seasonal transformation, perhaps a more upbeat one. In Fletcher and the Falling Leaves by Julia Rawlinson, Fletcher is a young fox concerned about his best friend, a tree, as autumn comes. Ultimately, Fletcher experiences the awesomeness of the season’s change. In Leaves, by David Ezra Stein, a very young bear is upset by autumn’s transformations, then uses fallen leaves as a bed to hibernate. In spring, the bear awakens and greets the new leaves.
  • Read the story and prepare to read it aloud to the group. If you are using a book other than The Fall of Freddie the Leaf, adapt the questions that are provided below.
  • Be ready to process feelings or questions that may surface, particularly if you are aware that a participant has recently experienced a loved one’s death, a life-threatening illness, or another serious loss.

Description of Activity

The Fall of Freddie the Leaf is told from the perspective of a young leaf experiencing the transformation autumn brings. Appropriate for a wide age range of children to engage on their own levels, this picture book presents a natural, seasonal life cycle change, softly making the point that life is all about transformation; death is inherent in life.

Gather the group to sit comfortably for a picture-book story.

After reading the story, lead a discussion. Encourage participants to share their observations about natural life-cycle transformations. Engage very young children to talk about the seasonal changes that occur in your geographical region. You might invite older participants to talk about the cycle of birth, life and death of all living things, including humans.

Draw themes from The Fall of Freddie the Leaf with these questions:

  • What caused Freddie and Frieddie's friends to change?
  • What was it like as Freddie noticed their own transformation? Was Freddie afraid, excited, both, some other feeling?
  • Have you experienced any transformations like Freddie? How do you feel about transformations that are natural, ones you know are coming?
  • What do you think has become of Freddie? Is there still a Freddie? Has Freddie turned into something that is still Freddie—yet different?

Including All Participants

There are many picture-book stories about seasonal transformation. Choose one that strikes the right level of depth for your group.

The Fall of Freddie the Leaf uses the fall of a leaf in autumn to illustrate, metaphorically, that death is a natural transformation. If any participants have recently experienced a loved one’s death, a life-threatening illness, or another serious loss, anticipate feelings or questions and be ready to process them. Avoid describing the natural transformation of death as “a miracle.” You may decide to use another book.

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For more information contact religiouseducation@uua.org.