Henry & Leo

Pamela Zagarenski. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-544-64811-1
Zagarenski (The Whisper) frames her splendid, tapestrylike paintings within a story that focuses their power. Henry’s family loves him, but his insistence that his toy lion, Leo, has feelings is a problem. “Leo is a stuffed toy,” his sister sniffs, “and toys aren’t real.” When Henry falls asleep on a hike and drops Leo in the woods, his mother assures him that they’ll search for Leo in the morning. In a series of hauntingly lovely wordless spreads, Zagarenski returns to the forest under the warm light of a full moon, where a bear, fox, and hare discover Leo. They sip out of mugs while Leo draws a picture of his house; he rides home on the bear’s back. When Henry spots Leo on the lawn the next morning, his sister says wonderingly, “But I looked in that very spot last night,” allowing readers to share in Leo’s secret. Lost-toy stories can be frightening, but Zagarenski presents the forest as a place of beauty and refuge, and the closing endpapers suggest that Leo and Henry find more to do there. Ages 4–7. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/29/2016
Release date: 10/04/2016
Genre: Children's
Ebook - 40 pages - 978-1-328-66187-6
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