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Summary: Leo is having a bad day. He can’t seem to stay out of trouble. He gets so upset at having to be told "no" all day that he finally screams back at his Mom. He tells her he hates her. He feels bad right away and knows he has to do something. Leo and his mom work through his feelings together. This picture book helps children explore their feelings, particularly anger and hurt.
Type of Reading: bedtime story, anytime reading, family reading, playtime reading, read aloud book, learning to read
Recommended Age: read together: 3 to 8; read yourself: 7 to 9
Interest Level: 5 to 8
Reading Level: 2.5
Age of Child: Read with a 5-year-old girl.
Young Reader Reaction: My daughter thought Leo was mean, but at the same time she liked seeing all the things that got him in trouble. For example, he was dancing on a table and squeezing the toothpaste in the toilet. She wanted to know why he did not calm down and obey his Mom instead of being so mean to her.
Adult Reader Reaction: I did not like this book. Leo not only behaves badly, he does not get punished for saying mean things and disobeying. He might feel bad but there were no consequences in the end of the story. I could tell my daughter wasn’t liking it by the second page, but I was surprised she would not even let me read it to her one more time later.
Pros: Kids (and parents) will relate to the theme that some days everything goes wrong and that frustrations boil over.
Cons: While it is helpful for kids to understand emotions and feelings, they also need to know there are consequences. The story lost a great opportunity to help kids see that it isn't just them who get punished for these kinds of choices.
Borrow or Buy: Borrow. The book may be useful in helping children label some of the pent-up feelings they don't understand.
Educational Themes: Although there are no demonstrated consequences for Leo, there are opportunities to go beyond the story and talk about choices in real life. There are plenty of emotions to discuss, including Mom reaching her boiling point, too. It could be instructive as a way to create an 'anger plan' that little kids can understand and use.
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