The old woman falls ill, and because no one is taking care of her garden, the flowers start to wilt and die. The garden insects and bugs are devastated.
Some one must summon the Leaf Men, mythical heroes who can save the garden. They can only be called by climbing to the tallest tree and calling out "Leaf Men, Leaf Men. We are in need!" The brave doodle bugs are up to the task.
The Leaf Men come to the rescue and destroy the evil Spider Queen. Working through the night, they bring the garden back to life, sewing leaves and petals back onto their stems.
The leaf men find an old toy that the sick woman had lost in the garden when she was a little girl. Carrying the toy on their backs, they return it to the old woman who soon recovers and the garden is saved!
I love William Joyce's illustrations, so detailed and carefully composed. And although we love the Leaf Men, my kids think the Doodle Bugs are the real heroes of this story. As they start their perilous journey to the top of the tallest tree they sing "Small in size, but brave of heart! We always finish what we start!" Not a bad lesson for my own little ones to learn.