“Many years have come and gone and Anna is now an elderly woman. Anna gets out her keep sake, scrap book, photo album every Thanksgiving and fondly tells her children and grandchildren one of her favorite stories about the miracle leaf and how it was used for the table centerpiece decoration that brightened up everyone’s spirits.”
The story is told in “Please Don’t Leave Me” ($12.95 in paperback from Northstate Children’s Books) by Vic Sbarbaro and Marcia Sbarbaro-Pezzella. Vic is a Certified Health Education Specialist; Marcia worked as a special education teacher before her retirement “and helps out in her husband’s restaurant, Pezzella’s.”
The tale begins years ago in the small town of Leafton. The full-color illustrations by Josh Smith, now “a freelance painter and illustrator,” are simply delightful, especially in showing the fall colors on the trees and one very special leaf.
There was sadness in Leafton, the families “struggling with their businesses due to the floods and fires throughout the previous year.” In spring, in the Thompson family’s backyard, it turned out each tree, flower, and leaf had a name. There was “Daffy the daffodil, Tula the tulip, Levi the lavender bush, Rosita the rose, Ashley the ash tree”—you get the idea.
But there was also a little leaf that had sprouted on the maple tree below all the other leaves. “Hey!” he shouted. “How did all of the leaves get so high on the branches?” The other leaves called him “small fry” or even “runt,” and he wondered “what is my mission in life going to be?”
By fall, the other leaves had fallen to the ground, and Mr. Thompson was busy raking. Ms. Thompson and her daughter, Anna, returned from town to report the table decorations they had purchased had been stolen. That was when Anna noticed the maple tree. “Please, Dad, LEAVE ON that last leaf of the maple tree, it looks like a miracle leaf because of its shape and array of bright colors.”
And then, for Thanksgiving, Leave On the leaf had a central part to play at the holiday table. He had found his mission.