Friday, August 6, 2010

Your Pal Mo Willems Presents: Leonardo the Terrible Monster

Mo Willems (Emmy award-winning, former writer/animator for PBS' Sesame Street) is one of our favourite author/illustrators of all time. We have many of his books in our collection and several of the ones we don't own we've signed out repeatedly from the library. He is one of those authors who incorporates and directs humour to adult audiences as well as young readers. I get a lot of enjoyment out of his books for this reason. He's really good at creating expression in his characters through his drawings. Our family enjoys Willems' Don't Let the Pigeon series as well as his Knuffle Bunny series (a new one arrives in bookstores this fall!). Although we don't own it, I would say Leonardo the Terrible Monster is one of our best-loved since it is both hilarious and a sweet story of friendship.

Some of the books from our trip to the library today. No one was willing to be my reading model/victim today.

Leonardo the Terrible Monster (Hyperion Books for Children, Sept. 2005) is the tale of Leonardo. He's not your typical terrible monster. In fact, he's downright no good. He can't scare anyone and, often, his 'victims' just laugh at him. Until one day he finds a young boy who looks like he might be an easy mark. Leonardo gives it his all in attempt to "scare the tuna salad out of him" but it turns out the boy has just been having a bad day. Leonardo realises he could continue on his path towards becoming an even more terrible monster or he could follow a different, more satisfying route and become a good friend.

And since 'viewing' is also an important element in early literacy (or that's one of my excuses anyway) we borrowed the DVD version from the library and watched it this morning. It's just as delightful as the book, making the girls laugh out loud several times. Willems narrates the story and the expression he uses in his voice is priceless. It was kind of interesting, too, to compare his reading of the story with how I've been reading it aloud.

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