cover image The Day Leo Said I Hate You!

The Day Leo Said I Hate You!

Robie Harris, , illus. by Molly Bang. . Little, Brown, $16.99 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-316-06580-1

Harris (Mail Harry to the Moon! , Reviews, Apr. 28) and Bang (When Sophie Gets Angry—Really, Really Angry ) are so simpatico that it's almost surprising that no one thought of bringing them together sooner. Their hero is sulking after some serial misbehaving—evoked via vibrant collages of photos and cut paper—when Mommy's disciplining finally pushes him to an act of provocative communication. Bang portrays Leo as almost demonic, his flushed face ballooning above his tiny body as the titular words blast out of his mouth. Instantly mortified—his too-large head suddenly makes him seem awkward and vulnerable—he now has a new problem: Could the words he spoke in anger negate Mommy's love for him? Harris is not (and never has been) interested in portraying Stepford families. When Leo weakly points out that, after all, Mommy expressed a hatred of broccoli at dinner the night before, she loses it. “BROCCOLI?”—Bang punctuates the already expressive typography with photos of the vegetable—“I am NOT broccoli! You are NOT broccoli!” But this breach is not, of course, irreparable, and the way Mommy brings it off is so humane, sensible and, yes, replicable, that booksellers might actually want to consider filing copies of this book in the parenting section. Ages 3–6. (Sept.)