Leo's Dream

Antonie Schneider, Author, Helga Bansch, Illustrator, Alyson Cole, Translator , illus. by Helga Bansch, trans. by Alyson Cole. Bloomsbury $19.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-7475-8184-0

Bansch, a Viennese artist, provides a series of eloquent paintings to express the feelings of a lonely boy in this paper-over-board volume. Leo's mother always seems to be working, and on the day before his birthday, she's gone again. "You never have any time for me!" he shouts. "He was as bitter as a lemon," Schneider (Dearest Little Mouse in the World ) writes; in Bansch's full-bleed spread, everything turns yellow, and Leo's usually red hair stands on end in lemon-bitter fury. Sulking in his room, Leo draws his family as animals—Mum as a goose, Dad a crocodile and his sister Alma a rabbit—only to discover that they have transformed. "There was a goose splashing about in the bath! And a crocodile sitting on the loo." Leo finds himself suddenly protecting the three from a policeman (a neighbor reported a crocodile sighting). Bansch keeps the perspective close to the floor to reflect Leo's point of view, and as Leo settles into his dream, the backgrounds change from beige to cozy red. The animal family tucks him in and, sure enough, Mum, Dad and Alma appear the next morning with a cake. In Schneider's story, Leo works his way through his anger in his own world, which Bansch conveys with skill and warmth. Ages 3-5. (Nov.)

Reviewed on: 11/06/2006
Release date: 01/01/2006
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