|Leo: A Ghost Story by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Christian Robinson.|
Chronicle Books, 2015.
Getting back to the non-scary stuff, here is a sweet new picture book for the season. Mac Barnett and Christian Robinson are two of the best picture book makers working today, so you know this one will be special.
We first meet Leo in the house he has called home for many years. He is alone.
When a family finally moves into the house, Leo is delighted. As they are unpacking, Leo brings them a tray of mint tea and honey toast. They see only a floating tray. As they cower in the bathroom, Leo hears them say how much they hate ghosts. They hold a seance to banish him, but sad little Leo has already taken the hint.
Leo decides to be a wandering ghost and heads to the city. It is much different from when he was alive, and no one can see him. That is, until Leo meets Jane. Jane can see Leo! She invites him to play. They have a wonderful time, but Jane thinks he is just an imaginary playmate. He is afraid she will no longer want to be friends if she learns he is a ghost.
That night, a robber breaks into Jane's house. Of course, the robber can't see Leo, but our hero comes up with a plan and saves the day.
Jane asks Leo how he could catch a robber if he's only imaginary. "Jane, I told you a lie. I am a ghost. I said I was your imaginary friend, but I'm not. I am just your real friend."
'"Oh!" said Jane. 'Well, that's even better.'"
It's really just a sweet story about friendship and being yourself. And Leo is too adorable to resist anyway.
You can find a Leo activity kit on the book's website at Chronicle. It includes such printables as "Color In the Bowties," "Pin the Tail on the Dragon," "Design Your Own Coat of Arms," and "Draw with Jane."