Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

'Sylar and the Sycamore Leaves' Teaches Life Lessons in Rhyme and Illustrations

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

'Sylar and the Sycamore Leaves' Teaches Life Lessons in Rhyme and Illustrations

Article excerpt 304-348-5188

In a backyard treehouse filled with leaves, a grandfather found inspiration -- and his grandson learned a valuable life lesson. Don Sager of Nitro, a retiree who often babysits his 11-month-old grandson, Sylar, has written a book titled "Sylar and the Sycamore Leaves, inspired by the simple joys of spending time together in a treehouse.

For Sager and his grandson, the treehouse has become more than just a platform high in the limbs of a tree.

"On nice days, Sylar and I play in our treehouse. It's a great base platform for lots of imaginary adventures. We can travel everywhere, near and far, all without a car seat, Sager said in an email.

Sager's book, written in rhyme and illustrated by Rick Sanders, was inspired by his and Sylar's efforts to clear the fallen leaves from the treehouse.

They would do this by sticking the leaves through the gaps between the floorboards and side railings.

"My wife, Betsy, and I thought it would be fun to see how Sylar would react when he saw some large sycamore leaves among the smaller maple and pin oak leaves, Sager said.

So he and his wife mixed some big sycamore leaves in with the smaller ones.

"The next time Sylar was in the treehouse, he went about his business of getting rid of the leaves. Then he saw one of the giant sycamore leaves. The actual leaf was literally bigger than his head. He picked it up and turned it over and over, just staring at it.

As Sager watched, Sylar tried to push the large sycamore leaves through the gaps in the floor, as he does with the smaller ones. Not having success, he went back to the smaller leaves, fitting them through the gaps.

"He then picked up the large sycamore leaf, looked at it once again and then did something that totally amazed me. He ripped it into smaller pieces and easily put them through the floor. He laughed when his plan worked. He continued with the other leaves and didn't even stop to think when he found the other large sycamore leaves. …

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