One of the latest offerings from Schiffer Publishings, Tarot Leaves by Beth Seilonen, has some pluses and minuses that make this deck a mixed bag for me. I really wanted to like it and I did find some good things about it - but ultimately, this is not a deck that I can give an enthusiastic recommendation.
Let's start with the pluses first: like US Games, Schiffer never skimps on quality - the cards are smooth with a nice, glossy finish that provides a great slip when shuffling. The card stock is fantastic - strong and firm, making this a deck that can take a lot of wear and tear.
It comes in a high quality box with a ribbon pull and a magnetic button closure. (I love the snap of that button!) This box is perfectly constructed - you certainly don't need to buy any special boxes to house your decks when you purchase one from Schiffer!
The deck comes with a little white book - again, well made and not flimsy at all. In fact, the book is like a "regular" book with a nice cover and solid binding. The book includes short interpretations for each card plus meanings for reversals (important to me as I read with them). The author's writing is warm and gentle much as I think she intends this deck to be.
And here are the minuses: Although the art isn't bad, it wasn't appealing to me at all. Each card has an image of a leaf (Maple, Apple, Oak and Birch) with an image hidden within the leaf. The idea is clever but on execution it does not always work.
For example, we can clearly see the image in the 2 of Swords as a blindfolded person reaching for two swords. One can quickly grasp that this is about making difficult decisions. But then when you look at the 5 of Wands, the "tree" images blend in and just look like veins in the leaf. This may not be a problem for a seasoned reader - but for a newbie, this may pose issues.
I liked the art on some of the cards such as the Magician and the 3 of Pentacles - but sometimes it veered towards cartoonish such as in the Death card.
Aesthetically, this wasn't the deck for me. Although I had no trouble reading with it, I didn't feel inspired by the images. I'm a very visual reader and this deck just didn't do the trick.
The deck contains 78 cards and is based on standard Rider Waite. Seilonen keeps it true to RWS tradition with the Majors and Minors - plus the suits (Cups, Wands, Swords, Pentacles) and Courts (Page, Knight, Queen, King). The back of the card has a pretty image of leaves that is reversible.
Although I think some nature lovers or deck collectors may enjoy this deck, many of us will be left scratching our heads and wishing for a bit more than what we find here.