Leo: A Ghost Story (Mac Barnett)

Hello, everybody! Today’s book is Leo: A Ghost Story, written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Christian Robinson, a wonderful story about friendship and acceptance.

Leo is a ghost. He’s not a scary ghost mind you, just a little boy ghost who has lived alone in his abandoned house for a long time. So when a family moves in and says unkind things about their home’s specter when he tries to be welcoming, Leo is hurt. He decides to leave home and explore the city, but it has changed so much from before. Leo feels lost and lonely, until one day he finds a girl name Jane, a girl who can see him! But Jane thinks Leo is her imaginary friend! Should Leo risk telling the truth about his ghostliness and risk losing her friendship forever?

This was a fantastic book that had some complex layers of meaning. On the surface, it’s a playful tale of friendship and kindness, with fearless Jane welcoming Leo into her life without hesitation when he is feeling lonely. Beyond that, however, it’s an allegory for the acceptance that defines true friendship: Leo is scared of revealing his true self, especially after being treated so poorly by the other humans. But Jane loves him just as he is, and readily shifts her preconceptions when Leo reveals the truth. It’s a fantastic message for children and adults. Robinson’s art is as simple yet gorgeous as always, following a muted blue and gray color scheme that fits the themes of the story well. The length is fine, and JJ absolutely loved it. This one is a definite winner, and we recommend it. Baby Bookworm approved!


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