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Henry & Leo by Pamela Zagarenski
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Henry & Leo

by Pamela Zagarenski

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This is the beautiful story of the friendship between Henry and his stuffed lion, Leo. Henry's sister doesn't believe that Leo has feelings, but Henry knows better. After a day with the family in the woods, Henry is very tired and his father carries him home. Later than night Henry realizes Leo is missing. The family searches everywhere, and finally decides he must be in the woods and they'll go look in the morning. In the meantime, the animals of the forest help Leo find his way home.
  Tarawyn | Nov 11, 2017 |
I tried explaining the Caldecott Honor to a group of pre-k children the other day. (It was pretty funny.) If you're unfamiliar, the Caldecott Medal and the Caldecott Honor are awarded to American illustrators whose work is singled out by the ALA as being "the most distinguished picture book for children". [Note: This does have a bearing on this post.]

I had decided to use a different style of picture book for my storytime and I chose to use Henry & Leo by Pamela Zagarenski. Two of the books that Zagarenski illustrated have been awarded the Caldecott Honor (Sleep Like a Tiger and Red Sings From Treetops: A Year in Colors). You might have guessed that because she was both author and illustrator that Henry & Leo is most likely a visually stunning book...and you'd be correct. However, the kids weren't overly impressed with the storyline. :-/ I don't think this was so much the fault of the author but more a mistake on my part for trying this out with a group of pre-k aged children (solo reading for this age would most likely work fine though). It's a bit too introspective for such a large age of young children. The story centers on Henry who has a best friend named Leo...who is a stuffed lion. To Henry, Leo is absolutely 100% alive and he can't understand why his sister and parents fail to see this simple fact. Through a series of adventures, the reader learns just how much Leo and Henry mean to each other. I encouraged the kids to point out the crowns and other little treats that Zagarenski uses in all of her illustrations (without any explanation I might add). This was everyone's favorite thing to do but none of them could tell me much about the story after we'd finished so it wasn't as successful as I would have ultimately liked. Personally, I felt it lacked the heart that I had expected based on the premise and the beautiful artwork. I recommend that you check it out for yourself because I (and the children) might be overly harsh in our judgment. :-) For the record, this doesn't mean that I won't be checking out more of Zagarenski's work just that this one wasn't my all-time favorite. 3/5 ( )
  AliceaP | Mar 21, 2017 |
Henry and Leo are best friends. Ever since Henry's second birthday, Leo has been there. No one in Henry's family understands their bond but he knows it is more than meets the eye. One day of the family walk, Leo gets lost. Henry worries all night that Leo will be scared and want to come home but his family insists that because Leo is a toy he will be fine. Well, to everyone's surprise, in the morning Leo is right outside. The book shows Leo playing with friends in the woods and leading them to his home where he is found. Whether real or not, Leo and Henry have an unbreakable bond. ( )
  MeganSchneider | Feb 13, 2017 |
This story brought back many found memories.Young Henry loves his lion stuffed animal named Leo. In his mind, Leo is real. He and Leo have adventures and Leo listens to Henry. Dispite what his parents tell him, Henry holds fast to the knowledge that Leo is alive.

When the family goes on a trip into the woods, that night, Henry realizes Leo is still in the woods. Firm in his belief that Leo will find his way home, still, he is worried...deeply worried.

As the reader sees via the lovely illustrations. Leo finds his way home with the help of his woodland friends the bear and the fox.

The art work is colorful and lovely in appearance. As a child, I had a cartoon friend Bertie the Bunyip. I knew he was real. When my mother told me adamantly that he was not, through tears, when I phoned my beloved grandmother, she affirmed that if I knew Bertie was real, then he was indeed real. ( )
  Whisper1 | Jan 31, 2017 |
This is a tale that is about a little boy who losses his most beloved stuffed animal lion. The story is told through the perspective of the family and the second half is told by showing the story of the stuffed lion making his journey home.
  CNealon | Nov 24, 2016 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0544648110, Hardcover)

Leo isn’t just a stuffed toy, he is Henry’s best friend and brother. He is as real as a tree, a cloud, the sun, the moon, the stars, and the wind. But when the two are accidentally separated, no one in Henry’s family believes Leo is real enough to find his way home.    
     With beautiful mixed-media paintings, the Caldecott Honor–winning artist Pamela Zagarenski explores the transcendent nature of friendship and love.

(retrieved from Amazon Tue, 01 Mar 2016 17:21:10 -0500)

"Leo isn't just a stuffed toy, he is Henry's best friend and brother. But when the two are accidentally separated, no one in Henry's family believes Leo is real enough to find his way home"--

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