speech and language teaching concepts for The Leaf Thief in speech therapy​ ​
Frequent Speech Sounds:

/b/ initial
/er/ medial
/d/ final
/skw/ initial
/l/ initial, medial and final
/f/ final
/st/ initial (steal, stole, stolen)
/th/ initial


changing seasons

Book Details:
Diverse Characters: N/A
Age Recommendation: Early Childhood, Elementary

The Leaf Thief

By Alice Hemming

The Leaf Thief is a funny picture book that teaches kids about autumn, adapting to change, and the seasons. Squirrel loves counting the leaves on his tree–red leaves, gold leaves, orange, and more. But hold on! One of his leaves is missing! On a quest to find the missing leaf, Squirrel teams up with his good friend Bird to discover who the leaf thief could be among their forest friends. With vibrant art and captivating characters, the magic of autumn is captured beautifully on each page as readers tag along Squirrel’s forest adventure. Is there truly a leaf thief afoot, or is something else going on in Squirrel’s forest? A perfect exploration of change–both seasonal, and the anxiety that change sometimes causes.

This cute fall and leaves book can be used in speech therapy to address character analysis. It is also great for noticing character expressions and for targeting predicting as well as for /b, /er/, /d/, /skw/, /l/, /f/ and /st/ sounds! Discover more of the speech and language teaching concepts for using The Leaf Thief in speech therapy below:

Key Teaching Concepts

Narrative Structure:

complete episode

Narrative Concepts:

problem solving​
character analysis​
illustration study​
text features​


order of animals squirrel asks about the missing leaves


thief, normal, relax, disaster, disturb, stolen

Character Analysis:

Squirrel is frantic and anxious about the missing leaves and bird tries to calm him down. Just when squirrel is finally able to relax, he thinks that someone has stollen the grass.


facial expressions
body language
bird and squirrel’s friendship
squirrel’s concern for his tree

Figurative Language:

personification (the leaf thief)


verbs (action)
verbs (irregular past tense)
verbs (present progressive)

Text Features:

change in text size
speech bubbles
moving text
bold text
explanation of changing of the seasons


How does he feel when he sees one of his leaves is missing?
How did bird make squirrel feel this time and afterwards?
How does squirrel feel when he wakes up each time?
What do you think bird thinks about squirrel?
How does squirrel feel in the end?
What about bird?


What do you think is wrong with one of the leaves?
Where do you think his leaf is?
What do you think will happen the next morning?
Who do you think he will ask next?
What do you think bird will tell squirrel?
How do you think squirrel could try to relax?
What do you think will happen in the morning?
What do you think bird will show squirrel?
Who do you think is the leaf thief?

Problem Solving:

Squirrel thinks that someone is stealing all the leaves and tries to find the thief.

If you are interested in using The Leaf Thief and other fall-themed books in speech therapy, then check out these print-&-go cheat sheets. Perfect for when you don’t need a full book companion. 

If you are interested in seeing other fall-themed books to use in therapy, then check out the Seasonal Teaching Points Book List for a printable copy.