Picture Book – Leonardo the Terrible Monster

Leonardo coverLeonardo is a terrible monster. He simply can’t scare anyone, no matter how hard he tries. He comes up with a plan to find the most scaredy-cat kid in the world, assuming that he will finally have success. In the end, the results of his experiment – while satisfying all around – are far from what he had been expecting.

Mo Willems is an expert at conveying complex emotion and relationship information through body language. His line drawings, with a fairly simple color scheme, are uncluttered and expressive. The story is sweet. When I first try to hand this to parents, they often seem skeptical, apparently worried that their young children will be frightened. But if there was ever a less scary book featuring monsters, then I have yet to find it. The title is a play on the word “terrible”, and contains a gentle message of friendship, rather than knee-jerk scares or images that might inspire nightmares.


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