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The Leaf Men and the Brave Good Bugs

por William Joyce

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When an old woman gets sick and her garden begins to die, the doodle bugs call on the Leaf Men to make things right again.
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When the old lady who cares for their garden home becomes ill, lost in the dreams of the past, a group of brave good bugs, advised by a mysterious lost toy, set out on an epic quest to find the fabled Leaf Men, and ask for their aid. Climbing to the very top of the highest tree, a troupe of doodlebugs brave storms and confront a threatening Spider Queen, eventually finding that their perseverance is rewarded, when the elfin Leaf Men do indeed appear, once called. All is set to rights again in the neglected garden, but to aid the old lady, it is found that the lost toy must once again play a part...

An engaging work of picture-book fantasy, The Leaf Men and the Brave Good Bugs is one of a number of William Joyce titles - others include The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore and A Day with Wilbur Robinson - that is also an animated film. In this case, the film based upon the book is apparently entitled Epic - I'll have to see if I can track it down. Leaving that aside, this was an entertaining fairy-tale style adventure, one that, with its figure of an old woman asleep as magic transpires in her garden, reminded me a bit of Philippa Pearce's classic children's fantasy novel, Tom's Midnight Garden. It was a welcome echo, given my love for Pearce's book. The artwork here, done in oil paint, was gorgeous, with an appealing vintage feeling that works very well with the story. All in all, a charming little picture-book adventure, one I would recommend to William Joyce fans, and to anyone looking for children's fantasy for the younger picture-book set. ( )
  AbigailAdams26 | Feb 9, 2018 |
I love the world William Joyce puts his readers in. The garden is in trouble when it's owner falls ill and is unable to take care of it. The brave, good bugs, under the direction of the mysterious toy, search for the Leaf Men who are known to help nature when in need. William Joyce appeals to kids' desires of a good vs. evil and creates this antagonist spider queen and these ant goblins. In conclusion, the Leaf Men do come and the truth about the toy is unveiled. It is such a cute story and really lets the imagination run. ( )
  imasson | Oct 13, 2016 |
A little bit like the movie Toy Story, I guess. The Leaf Men themselves look like ERB's Martian heroes, to my imagination. Fans of [b:Jumanji|525995|Jumanji|Chris Van Allsburg|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1348202802s/525995.jpg|428054] and others by [a:Chris Van Allsburg|9685|Chris Van Allsburg|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/authors/1264399536p2/9685.jpg] would probably like this more than I did.

But I couldn't get past a few things. For example, the fact that the garden was dying because the old woman couldn't water it, and the children were worried. The children should have watered it! And the fact that the spider is evil yet again, when the real science is that they are wonderful. And the weird way the humans' faces are drawn just bothers me. And of course, where are the leaf women? ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 6, 2016 |
I really enjoyed, “The Leaf Men and The Brave Good Bugs” for many reasons. First, like all of William Joyce’s books the illustrations were magnificent. I liked them in this book in particular because they all looked very old fashioned yet futuristic at the same time. I once read that the sign of a very good book is when you can’t tell what time period it is in or that the storyline could be placed in any century and it would fit. I believe the same goes for illustrations and William Joyce’s illustrations definitely meet that criterion. His illustrations are so finely drawn and detailed that they look like paintings. They also really add to the fantasy of the story line, supporting it with visionary and whimsical backdrops. I also really liked how Joyce wrote the story, constantly comparing the character of the old woman to the garden she loves so dearly. The story starts by saying, “There once was an old, old woman who loved her garden. Though her skin was wrinkled with age, it was as soft as the petals of her favorite roses.” It goes on to say, “One day the treasured rosebush grew sickly and so did the old woman. She stayed in bed, and the flowers grew dry from thirst. They began to shrivel and die.” This gave me as a reader a very clear idea of how closely connected the old woman and her garden are. Also, by comparing the garden to the woman it gave life to it, making it seem more like a character than an inanimate setting. I just thought that this was a really effective tool in making the story come to life for readers. I also liked, “The Leaf Men and The Brave Good Bugs” because of its story line. The story is about an old woman who has a beautiful garden that she takes great pride in. However, the old woman falls ill and the garden suffers along with her. The insects and lost toy in her garden take matters into their own hands and devise a plan to find the mysterious; “leaf men” who will help them put the garden back together. A group of doodle bugs set out on this journey and have to fight an evil spider queen and her ant goblins, before being saved by the leaf men. When the doodle bugs and the leaf men return back to the garden they fix it but tell the lost toy that it is only him that can save the old woman. The leaf men place the toy and a rose in the old woman’s bed which wakes her up and causes her to remember him as her long lost childhood toy that her father gave her to watch over her at night. The old woman also sees the tiny footprints of the leaf men on her windowsill and smiles. The old woman gets better and the story ends by her and her garden thriving. To me, the story was very interesting and made me want to keep reading. I believe that the book has two big ideas within it. First, I think through the perseverance and goodness of the doodle bugs it tells readers to always help people they love and to do the right thing. Secondly, I think the second big idea is to tell readers that they should always have something good and steadfast to believe in. The insects and lost toy believed in the leaf men, even though they weren't sure they were real, and because of their belief they defeated the evil spider queen and restored the old woman’s health. I think that the last line spoken by the old woman that states, “The garden is a miraculous place, and anything can happen on a beautiful moonlit night” perfectly describes Joyce’s message to always have faith in things you believe in, even when you can’t see them. ( )
  MaryBethLingner | Oct 14, 2013 |
Gardens are wonderful places, but spiders are scary and bugs are kind of gross--even the brave good bugs. ( )
  melissarochelle | May 1, 2013 |
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When an old woman gets sick and her garden begins to die, the doodle bugs call on the Leaf Men to make things right again.

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