publisher: Hyperion Books for Children
picture book, storytime
Mr. Willems, I pretty much adore you and everything you create. I am such a huge fangirl! Time and again Willems presents issues that everyone deals with, shows growth, provides a solution, and teaches a lesson without being preachy.
Leonardo the Terrible Monster is an excellent example. Leonardo is a terrible monster because he just can’t scare people. So he does research to find the biggest scaredy-cat kid of all. After giving it all he has, Sam, his target, begins to cry. Leonardo rejoices at his final victory, but Sam gives him a very long list of all of the reasons why he is crying, none of which involves Leonardo’s scare attempt. Leonardo then decides to stop being a terrible monster and start being a wonderful friend by giving Sam a big hug.
As I have read this to kids, I have watched their faces grow more concerned that Leonardo is so delighted to have finally scared someone and made them cry. Sam’s rant lightens the mood and gets a giggle. And then Leonardo’s hug brings a big smile!
This would be a great title for storytime mostly because of Sam’s long rant. The kids won’t be expecting it and it will definitely get their attention. Take a big exaggerated breath before you start. Practice it before hand so you don’t stumble on the words. You will be sure to impress!