Leo, A Ghost Story
It's the time of ghost and goblins and ghouls. And it's also the perfect time for me to recommend Leo: A Ghost Story to you all. Currently I've been fangirling (Is fanboying a saying too?) over picture books that have a very specific monochromatic color scheme. And picture books that are more than what they seem. Leo: A Ghost Story encompasses both of those things!
I shouldn't be surprised that I enjoyed this picture book so much--after all, it's written by Mac Barnett, who has yet to fail to delight me. Add in these blue hue illustrations by Christian Robinson that create such a lovely mood, and you've got yourself a winner.
Here's the thing: we've been reading in the school library in the mornings again. Because of the timing of school for the girls, when I'm the one who drops the girls to school in the morning, Little Lion and I have time to read together. Sometimes she chooses her own book and I just sit next to her and read. Sometimes we read aloud together just as we did when she was in pre-K and Kindergarten. And sometimes her friend, M, joins us and we read-aloud picture books together. It makes me SO happy.
Why? Because it's a moment in time given back to me. When we get home from school, we are busy or I'm still at work. Since I'm the 'late start' physician, I have this precious time to bring the girls to school and hang out for a bit. And, as always, our amazing librarian has set out some amazing books for us to read. (Their banned books display was stellar as always.)
And even though Leo is a ghost story, and therefore was set among the Halloween-themed books this month, it's actually a story about friendship. Leo has lived for along time in his house, but when he unintentionally scares the new homeowners, he decides it's time for him to set off and become a 'roaming ghost' for a while. It turns out, Leo was craving company all along! So he was disappointed when the new homeowners didn't care for his kind of company. He's lonely.....until he eventually finds a friend who (SPOILER ALERT!) wholeheartedly accepts him for who he is.
So, as opposed to the wonderful Beekle (a Dan Santat creation), Leo is also an UNimaginary friend but a different kind of 'real', and the truest kind of friend.
To say that I enjoyed reading Leo: A Ghost Story would be an understatement. I only wish I could partake of some mint tea and honey toast too.
Readability: Leo is a great read-aloud. And fun to read over and over again. The kind of picture book that you can't help but read again immediately to catch all the details you didn't catch the first time around.
Diversity side note: Well, this book is ALL about diversity and acceptance--and accepting ourselves for who we are so that others can accept us too. Also, Jane could be a mixed or full blue little girl. It's ambiguous and I like it that way.
Tell Dr. Bookworm!
I think it's coincidental (or is it?) that I also heard an interview with Amy Tan on NPR where she just happens to talk about how her mother believed in ghosts...and also watched an episode of Fresh Off the Boat in which the Huang family moved into a new house (and out of it in the same episode) where the Grandma was convinced that there were ghosts in the walls. It had nothing to do with the intercom system. Nope. There were voices in the walls.
So, let me know in the comments, DO YOU BELIEVE IN GHOSTS? (I do.) What's your favorite book or picture book about ghosts?