Hi there... This is the first page of the letter "L" in an alphabetical list of children's books reviewed on ReadThatAgain.com... All these books are also listed by Author in another section of the site.

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Kids Books -- "L" By Title
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"Leon And Bob"
Written by Simon James
Illustrated by Simon James
(Candlewick, 1997)
A sweet story about a boy named Leon who creates an imaginary friend called Bob, who comforts Leon while his father is away (in the army) and his mother is away at work... Leon is the also newest kid in his neighborhood, at least until another new kid moves in next door... When Leon works up the courage to ask is neighbor out to play, he brings imaginary companion along with him, but Bob disappears before Leon can ring the bell -- he is about to be replaced by a real-life friend... And after Leon takes the simple first step of saying "hi" and asking the new kid to come to the park with him, a new chapter opens up. One nice thing about this book is that it isn't judgmental or problem-oriented: the imaginary friendship is presented in a very matter-of-fact way, and the story isn't about how adults try to curtail an unhealthy fantasy, but rather how that fantasy helps a kid get through a rough emotional time. A simple, soft story that will ring true on many levels. (B)


"Leonardo The Terrible Monster"
Written by Mo Willems
Illustrated by Mo Willems
(Hyperion, 2005)

A beautifully designed picture book about a little monster named Leonardo who wants to be scary, but just isn't. He picks on a boy named Sam who, Leonardo has determined, is the most scaredy-cat kid in all the world... But when he succeeds in making Sam cry, Leonardo realizes that he's actually hurt Sam's feelings, and rushes to make amends... The story may seem simple (it is, but in a good way...) but it's really the art and the layout that makes this such a wonderful book. The luxurious use of empty space -- with entire two-page spreads devoted to small, single images -- is reminiscent of Jules Fieffer's groundbreaking work of the 1960s. Likewise, other elements of the book seem to draw consciously on other popular wellsprings -- the fuzzy-maned Leonardo looks like a wee growler straight out of Maurice Sendak's Where The Wild Thing Are, while the book's premise has more than a little in common with Monsters, Inc. Mo Willems does a fine job synthesizing these classic influences to present a playful, emotionally evocative, visually arresting story, one that will draw small children in right away... And you'll have a lot of fun trading "BOOS" with your kid after each reading. I enjoyed this one a lot, and it's frequently requested at storytime. (A++)


"Let's Count It Out, Jesse Bear"
Written by Nancy White Carlstrom
Illustrated by Bruce Degen
(Simon & Schuster, 1996)

A painfully belabored counting book, with no narrative flow and a visual layout and conceptual structure that are difficult to understand. About as much fun as watching paint peel, and fairly ineffective as a teaching tool. At least it didn't work for our family... Anyway, there are a bazillion books that cover the same concepts, oh, so much better. (D)


"Let's Get A Pup! Said Kate"
Written by Bob Graham
Illustrated by Bob Graham
(Candlewick, 2001)

One day, a young girl named Kate wakes up and decides it's time for the family to get a puppy... Her parents agree, and off they all zoom to the local animal shelter, where they find not one, but two dogs that tug at their hearts, the cute little puppy of their dreams and his companion, an older, bigger furball named Rosie. As with other Graham titles, it's nice to see scruffy, earringed, alterna-parents, and to see regular, non-rich families living nonchalantly amid urban environs... Plus, the story of how they wind up adopting both dogs is a real tear-jerker. A wonderful book! (Also see the 2007 sequel, The Trouble With Dogs... Said Dad, which is equally charming.) (A)


"Let's Go Home, Little Bear"
Written by Martin Waddell
Illustrated by Barbara Firth
(Candlewick, 1995)

The two bears are tromping through the snow when Little Bear starts to hear funny sounds. Their journey home is slowed by his half-playful need to stop repeatedly and have Big Bear reassure him that there's nothing scary in the woods. Once again, Big Bear is the model of kindness and compassion, and childhood anxieties are diffused and transformed into a source of delight. The text verges on being cumbersome, but you'll probably wind up liking this book as much as we do. Wonderful artwork: skillfully rendered, the tenderness between the two bears leaps out at you on every page. (A)


"Let's Make Rabbits"
Written by Leo Lionni
Illustrated by Leo Lionni
(Random House, 1982)

A wonderful, wonderfully simple book about creation and creativity. A pair of scissors and a pencil get together one day and decide to make some rabbits, one cut out of paper, and the other swiftly sketched out, each as appealing and unique as the other. Like their creators, the rabbits become fast friends... The story closes with a magical, and somewhat Garden Of Eden-like ending, when the two bunnies become "real" after eating a real live, 3-D carrot. If you're looking for pro-art books that encourage creative thinking, you'd be hard pressed to find one better than this. Recommended! (A)




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