Leo: A Ghost Story by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Christian Robinson
I grabbed this one because I love the illustrator. Christian Robinson did the pictures for the amazing Last Stop on Market Street so he’s pretty much sold me on books he’s worked on. In Leo: A Ghost Story I loved seeing how he handled a ghost, real people and some imaginary friends. As always, Robinson draws a cast with diversity. Always a huge plus in my book.
Mac Barnett presents a fresh take on making friends and what’s important in a friendship. Leo has been living alone, but when a family forces him to give up his home, he sets out to wander. As it turns out he finds a new home and a new friend in the city.
While it’s not actually scary and avoids all mention of how someone gets to be a ghost (especially a child ghost), there are some parts that younger readers might find unsettling. Some will ask questions about ghosts. There’s a home invasion which done as innocuously as possible with a “sneak thief” stealing some silverware, but that still might worry some younger readers particularly if they already have fears about this type of thing.
Age Recommendation: Elementary school is probably the best audience for this. While my toddler seems okay with it, I suspect he’s not catching it all. For listeners younger than KindergartenI enjoyment and understanding of this is going to be highly kid dependent. I expect that school age children will take away some nice lessons about being a friend.
Sex, Nudity, Dating – None.
Profanity – None.
Death, Violence and Gore – There’s a ghost.
Drugs, Alcohol and Smoking – None.
Frightening or Intense Things – A burglar breaks into someone’s house.