cover image Leo: A Ghost Story

Leo: A Ghost Story

Mac Barnett, illus. by Christian Robinson. Chronicle, $16.99 (52p) ISBN 978-1-4521-3156-6

As a ghost, Leo may be invisible and intangible, but he can still feel bruised. When a family moves into the empty home he occupies, they aren’t exactly pleased to see the floating tray of tea and toast he has prepared for them. “This house is haunted!” cries the father as the family cowers in the bathtub. “I hate tea!” says his son. “And I hate ghosts!” In one of several funny-sad moments, Robinson (Last Stop on Market Street) shows Leo floating above the family, hands clasped to his mouth in shock at their reaction. Leaving the house, Leo explores the unfamiliar city and befriends a girl named Jane, who mistakes him for an imaginary friend. Robinson’s blue-black palette reflects the somewhat somber mood; along with the somewhat retro look of the art, Leo’s formal attire suggests he’s been a ghost for some time. Barnett (The Skunk) concludes on a high note, though, as Leo foils a robbery with help from a classic ghost accessory—the white bed sheet. It’s a warm and wise story about acceptance trumping difference—including that between life and death. Ages 3–5. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Aug.)