The Fall of Freddie the Leaf: Leo Buscaglia

The Fall of Freddie the Leaf Leo Buscaglia Book
by Leo Buscaglia

Book Comments & Discussion (2)

The Fall of Freddie the Leaf, written by Leo Buscaglia, Ph.D., is a small gem of a book about the life cycle of a leaf named Freddie. On one level, it is a story of the seasons written in language simple enough for a small child. But The Fall of Freddie the Leaf, subtitled A Story of Life for All Ages, is also a book of gentle depth, a meditation on the purpose of life, and a metaphor about the mystery and meaning of death.

We meet Freddy in the fall of his life. He has experienced gentle rains, delicate breezes, and a season of growing. He knows the leaves next to him on the branch. Freddie understands that he is part of the great tree. As a young leaf, this is his entire knowledge of life.

Luckily, Freddie has a neighbor, a little older and wiser, who has a deeper understanding of the world. It is this neighbor, Daniel, who explains the seasons of life to Freddie. When change comes, and warm breezes turn to chilly gusts, Daniel explains about the first frost, that it is a harbinger of the season of fall.

Daniel explains that there is a time for fall, when leaves must drop away from the branch. This is as natural as young leaves unfurling in the spring, and coming into the fullness of summer. Because it is part of the same process, it need not be feared any more than Freddie feared the changes that came with the lengthening of days.

Despite Daniel’s reassurances, Freddie is thrown into confusion and a little despair. He finds himself questioning the purpose of his life. What is the point, if it all must come to an end? Daniel has already explained the purpose of a tree. A tree exists to give shade to old people and children who come to the park. Freddie’s job is to be part of that shade. But what does it all mean, if in the end he must fall and leave the tree?

Daniel’s explanation is both simple and profound. Small children, and adults too, who are dealing with questions of change and loss can take comfort from the beautiful perspective of the inherent wisdom of nature.

The other leaves around Freddie fall, one by one. Freddie clings to the tree. Though he becomes cold and brittle, he resists letting go.

When he does let go of the branch, Freddie is amazed to find that falling is peaceful and magnificent. He is able to see the whole tree, understanding the full beauty and power of it for the first time. Settling at the base of the tree, Freddie finds that he is comfortable and at rest. Even then, Freddie has a future that he cannot comprehend. Spring will come, bringing rain, and Freddie will continue to play a role in nourishing the tree of life.

The Fall of Freddie the Leaf is a comforting and soulful story, which considers deep questions about life and death in the simplest way. This is an excellent book for children of all ages who are struggling to comprehend the idea of death or change, or who need comfort in a time of grieving. But this book can also serve as a calming meditation on our passage from life to death for readers of any age.
First published in 1982, The Fall of Freddie the Leaf was reissued as a Twentieth Anniversary Hardcover edition in 2002. This is an inspiring little book, well worth picking up.
This book is a comforting and well written story about the seasons of life and the meaning of death, suitable for children and readers of any age.
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This story by Leo Buscaglia is a warm, wonderfully wise and strikingly simple story about a leaf names Freddie. How Freddie and his companion leaves change with the passing seasons, finally falling to the ground with winter's snow, is an inspiring allegory illustrating the delicate balance between life and death.

The Fall of Freddie the Leaf is a warm and thought-provoking story and both children and adults will be deeply touched by this inspiring book. This 20th anniversary edition of this beloved classic has helped thousands of people come to grips with life and death.
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Mar 2009
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