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Leo: A Ghost Story

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When a new family moves into his home and Leo's efforts to welcome them are misunderstood, Leo decides it is time to leave and see the world. We're not sure how long Leo wanders, but he is a lonely ghost in a foreign world, for we find out that his town has changed considerably since Leo became a ghost. Jane is sapphire-skinned but reads African-American to me, with her braided or twisted hair — drawn as cheerful little dots — in a high side ponytail.

At some point, my wife made a comment about the quality of my driving,and the danger that I was putting our guest in. His pencil drawings feel natural, and don't feel at all like they've been planned out carefully like they probably have done. Of course I appreciate the appearing act orchestrated in the first two spreads, but part of me questions that usage of space for a narrative that ultimately is about two characters. But the story of loneliness and finding friendship is delightful, and reminds me a lot of The Adventures of Beekle. This tender, wistful tale of friendship, innocence, and belief is an absolute joy—simply and movingly told, with quirky illustrations that tug at the heartstrings even as they raise a smile.With Autumn approaching, and Halloween around the corner, it is the perfect time to read Leo: A Ghost Story. It’s about friendship, about how sometimes leaving some things behind could lead you to better things. This charming tale of friendship—from two of the best young minds in picture books: the author of the Caldecott Honor–winning Extra Yarn and the illustrator of the Bologna Ragazzi Award–winning Josephine—is destined to become a modern classic that will delight readers for years to come. I’ve seen other reviewers recommending the book for ages 4-6, but I think kids much older than that will love it. At it's heart, this tale is an affirmation of friendship and acceptance, with Leo learning that a true friend will love him as he is.

But luckily, there's Jane, our plucky heroine, who can see Leo when others can't and believes him to be her imaginary friend. Sometimes the illustrations for this book were so damn adorable, I pulled the same smiley face the main character was pulling. An engaging picture-book from author Mac Barnett, whose many amusing tales include Billy Twitters and His Blue Whale Problem and Oh No! Leo features much darker colors and a flat (literally two-dimensional, not boring), more childlike feel to the style, whereas Beekle is crisper and rounder and brighter. That is how he meets Jane, a kid with a tremendous imagination and an open position for a worthy knight.Mac Barnett and Christian Robinson create such a unique little story and empathetic characters, that I feel like children would get heavily invested in this picture book as well, and outwardly emote in reaction to the story as it goes. Illustrated in shades of blue and starring a sweet faced boy ghost, Leo is left wandering the streets after the new owners of his home make it clear he is not wanted.

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