Letting Go

Fiction - Inspirational
48 Pages
Reviewed on 04/15/2021
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite

“In a small corner of the forest, a leaf refuses to fall.” And so the parable of the reluctant leaf begins. It’s Fall, the season when leaves do fall. It’s part of the cycle of life, how the leaf enjoyed the summer sun’s warmth and grew, but now must fall and replenish the soil, add nutrients to help its tree grow bigger and stronger. The tree understands the fear and there will come a time when the tree must face the same fear as the leaf. “Soon, you will have to let go. One day, I will do the same. It is the ending to a story that was written for each of us at the beginning of time.” The tree is often referred to as the tree of wisdom for a reason: it understands the profound nature of things, the cyclical pattern of life.

T C Bartlett’s story, Letting Go, is a simple, yet complex story about life. Beautifully illustrated, the plot follows a conversation between a tree and one of its leaves that refuses to let go in the Fall. The tree shares its wisdom and, finally, the leaf most reluctantly lets go. As cycles will have it, the leaf does as the tree dictates, nurturing its soil and helping it grow big and strong, then, when it’s the tree’s turn to go, the leaf offers the same profound wisdom, guidance, and reassurance as the tree once offered the leaf. “It’s time, Tree,” the Leaf said. It’s time for you to let go.” This book could be shared with young readers, but some of its messages are intense and would suit an older audience. It’s a gem of a book, reassuring, comprehensive, and full of compassion. Beautifully told and presented.

Jon Michael Miller

Letting Go by T. C. Bartlett is a stunning picture book that addresses the issues of change and natural cycles. The illustrations of leaves, a tree, and forest creatures are more than superb. It’s October, and leaves are falling from an old forest tree. Except, one leaf is outraged that the tree is allowing its leaves to drop. This obstinate leaf clings to a branch and chides the tree for its cruelty, thus beginning the dialogue that composes the book. The tree advises the scared little leaf that this is the natural cycle of life and it shouldn’t be afraid of letting go. The tree explains further that we’re all afraid to face the unknown, and then adds a dark note--the “the dirt always wins.”

Letting Go by T. C. Bartlett is a treat for even adult eyes. There’s lots of speckled space, many leaves drifting downward but one holding on. Also, kids will delight in the forest creatures: fawns, a cardinal, a tortoise, a chipmunk, sparrows, raccoons, squirrels, a hummingbird, an owl, a crane, mushrooms and daffodils. Splendid artwork. And the typeface looks handwritten, making the storytelling personal. And there’s a twist in the story—the wise old tree, full of advice to the terrified and angry leaf, finds itself part of the natural cycle and is equally scared as it starts the inevitable phase of decay. It also must face the fear of letting go. Good vocabulary for little ones to learn too: cascade, clinging, raging, tremendous, frightened, nourishing, caressed, and ridge. The lesson is right and necessary for us all—then, that lingering line, “The dirt always wins.” Hmm. Kids, parents and teachers will love Letting Go by T. C. Bartlett as a way to talk about loss and facing the unknown.

Bruce Arrington

Letting Go by T.C. Bartlett is a 32-page children’s illustrated story about a leaf that refuses to fall from a tree, although the rest of them are doing just that. This particular leaf is frightened, wanting to hold on to the small life that it has. As it sees the other leaves take the plunge, the leaf complains to the tree, scolding it, and wants it to stop. The tree explains that this is the normal course of life and that the end does come for all. We are part of a life cycle that continues ever onward. The leaf must finally adapt to the change, but in doing so, can it fulfill its own destiny?

This is a sensitive story that zeroes in on a very real aspect for all mortals: fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of what happens when death takes us, fear of losing everything that is important to us. The tale demonstrates positive ways in which to approach death, or dying, and reveals how that even when things come to an end, some good can come from it. The most painful part can be the refusal to accept life’s certainties, but once we pass through that stage it becomes easier. Not ever easy, but easier. I enjoyed the detailed artwork, how the details add to the beauty of this book. Letting Go by T.C. Bartlett takes the fearful aspect of death and brings it to a child’s level of understanding, helping to pave the way for acceptance through the difficult times of loss. Recommended.

Kristine Zimmerman

Letting Go, written and illustrated by T. C. Bartlett, is about the cycle of life. The story starts in autumn with a leaf clinging to a tree. The leaf does not want to fall from the tree. The tree gently explains to the leaf that seasons come and go and each of us plays a part. The cycle of life begins and ends and, as much as we may want to fight it, the outcome is the same for all of us. The leaf clings on into winter until finally, she decides to let go. The leaf becomes part of the dirt that in turn nourishes the tree. The years continue until one day it is the tree’s turn to let go and then we see the cycle begin again.

What a beautiful and gentle way to explain the reality of life. T. C. Bartlett has written a perfect introduction to the concept of life and death. One of the aspects I really appreciated was both the leaf and the tree’s reluctance to let go when the time came. Letting Go acknowledges that it is hard to leave what we love for the unknown. T. C. Bartlett’s illustrations are beautiful and include not only the tree and leaf but all the flora and fauna as well. I loved that the leaf is incorporated into the tree’s bark as the years go on. Letting Go will be an excellent resource for parents and grandparents to use with their young ones when they need a gentle way to explain death.

Tiffany Ferrell

In Letting Go by T.C. Bartlett, we are introduced to a leaf who is refusing to fall. The tree tries to explain to the leaf that they are letting go so they can become part of the ground and nourishment. This didn’t calm the leaf who didn’t understand why the tree was letting this happen, but the tree explained to the leaf that it was beyond its control. The leaf was afraid as it watched all the other leaves blow away and fall to the ground. The season changed from fall to winter and still, the leaf wouldn’t let go of the tree. She promised the tree that she would look after him while he used winter to sleep. The tree tried to tell her that the time had come for her to let go because 'the dirt always wins.' After a moment of taking everything in, the leaf finally let go. She became part of the dirt giving the tree the food it needed to continue to grow, and she was not afraid. After a long while, soon it became the tree’s turn to let go, but he was afraid. Leaf repeated the kind words that he had once said to her. The tree, like the leaf, took everything in one last time and fell.

I thought Letting Go by T.C. Bartlett was a very deep book, but also easy enough for kids to understand loss. At least that’s how I interpreted Letting Go. That death isn’t the end of things and that we go on after we die, but it’s explained in a way that a younger audience would be able to comprehend and understand. A book like this is definitely important in the world we currently find ourselves in. With the current pandemic, many people have lost their lives and so many children are having a difficult time understanding what is happening in the world around them. The illustrations are also beautifully done and fit perfectly with the storyline. Overall, I think this is a great book for kids and that T.C. Bartlett has done a wonderful job. I can’t wait to see more of this author's work.