Leonardo, the Terrible Monster

( 14 )

Overview

Leonardo is truly a terrible monster-terrible at being a monster that is. No matter how hard he tries, he can't seem to frighten anyone. Determined to succeed, Leonardo sets himself to training and research. Finally, he finds a nervous little boy, and scares the tuna salad out of him! But scaring people isn't quite as satisfying as he thought it would be. Leonardo realizes that he might be a terrible, awful monster-but he could be a really good friend.
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Overview

Leonardo is truly a terrible monster-terrible at being a monster that is. No matter how hard he tries, he can't seem to frighten anyone. Determined to succeed, Leonardo sets himself to training and research. Finally, he finds a nervous little boy, and scares the tuna salad out of him! But scaring people isn't quite as satisfying as he thought it would be. Leonardo realizes that he might be a terrible, awful monster-but he could be a really good friend.
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Caldecott Honor winner Mo Willems creates another outstanding picture book, this time starring a wannabe “terrible monster” who switches gears after his mission to scare an unsuspecting boy doesn’t work. With simple text and uncomplicated illustrations that capture kids’ emotions perfectly, Willems’s story offers monster-sized giggles while teaching about understanding and friendship. It's a can’t-miss addition to your child’s bookshelf.
From The Critics
Poor Leonardo! Despite his horns, tail, and pea-green fur, this diminutive monster can't scare anyone, which could have something to do with how darn cute he is. Droll cartoons by the creator of Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! chronicle Leonardo's shift from seeking the world's most skittish kid to "scare the tuna salad out of" to pursuing a new goal: "Instead of being a terrible monster, he would become a wonderful friend." And he does. (ages 2 to 4)Child magazine's Best Children's Book Awards 2005
Publishers Weekly
Picture books commonly suggest that monsters, like certain bullies, are insecure and make marvelous playmates. Pint-size Leonardo, a case in point, is "a terrible monster" because "he couldn't scare anyone." As he roars, two people exchange patronizing smiles, and a circus-style, curly-serif typeface implies silly humor rather than danger. Like a Muppet, Leonardo is knee-high with olive-drab fur, a monkey's tail, a pink nose and tiny white horns. "He didn't have 1,642 teeth, like Tony," a six-mouthed purple guy (a footnote explains, "Not all teeth shown"), and "he wasn't big, like Eleanor," whose clawed feet (one sporting a pearl ankle bracelet) barely fit in the spread. Leonardo decides to pick on someone his own size, but when he successfully startles a moping boy, the child begins to wail about a broken toy in inch-tall italics that fill two pages. Leonardo decides that "instead of being a terrible monster, he would become a wonderful friend," and dispenses a consoling hug. Willems's (Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!) finale feels apt but syrupy; Leonardo's decision to be nice seems homiletic. Yet this is an appealing book, sketched in dark brown against grayish pastel backdrops, with evergreen lettering and highlighted key words. Leonardo accurately mimics a child's frustration at not being taken seriously; Willems suggests trying kindness to get attention. Ages 3-6. (Sept.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1-Leonardo is a terrible monster-"terrible" as in he can't scare anybody. He's not big, doesn't have hundreds of teeth, and isn't even weird. So one day he comes up with an idea: "He would find the most scaredy-cat kid in the whole world-and scare the tuna salad out of him!" After much research, he chooses Sam, sneaks up on him, and "[gives] it all he [has]." When the boy cries, Leonardo is convinced that he is a success. But Sam proceeds to recite a litany of wrongs that actually brought on his tears: "My mean big brother stole my action figure right out of my hands-," and on and on. Leonardo makes a decision that is sure to surprise and delight readers. Willems's familiar cartoon drawings work hand in glove with the brief text to tell this perfectly paced story. It is printed on pastel grounds in large, fancy letters that change color for emphasis. Sam's list of woes marches across a spread. Leonardo, a small greenish-beige creature with tiny horns; blue eyes; and pink nose, hands, and feet, first appears in a lower right-hand corner looking dejected, but when he makes his momentous decision, his circular head fills two pages. His antics to produce a scare will have youngsters laughing, while the asterisk next to the number of monster Tony's teeth ("*note: not all teeth shown") will have grown-ups chuckling, too. A surefire hit.-Marianne Saccardi, Norwalk Community College, CT Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
With a palette straight from the endpapers of Where the Wild Things Are, and postures not a little reminiscent of Max, Willems crafts a sweetly original morality play about a very unscary monster. Realizing that he doesn't possess the ideal monster attributes (1,642 teeth, enormous size or utter weirdness), Leonardo resolves to find "the most scaredy-cat kid in the whole world . . . and scare the tuna salad out of him!" Exhaustive research yields Sam, who, in a double-page-spread torrent of words, explains why he's so miserable he cries when Leonardo tries to scare him: "MY MEAN BIG BROTHER STOLE MY ACTION FIGURE [etc.]!" The instant connection between the two is the very definition of sympathy, and Leonardo and Sam proceed to become fast friends. The highly predictable ending is made fresh by the superb control of pacing, just-zany-enough sense of humor and body language readers have come to expect from the creator of Pigeon and Knufflebunny. Leonardo and Sam appear mostly in the corners of vast blank spreads, the showbiz typeface (all caps) emphasizing the theatricality of it all. Bravo! (Picture book. 3-6)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786852949
  • Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
  • Publication date: 9/1/2005
  • Pages: 48
  • Sales rank: 43,040
  • Age range: 3 - 6 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.25 (w) x 12.75 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 14 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 14 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 30, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    The Best Book Ever

    This delightful story is fun to read to kids of all ages. The illustrations are outstanding.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 9, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    My 2 1/2 year old thinks Leonardo is HILARIOUS!

    This book is really fun read out loud. My son is 2 1/2 and cracks up every read. The story is sweet, silly and relevant and my son likes the illustrations as well. I have only two complaints about this book. It is large in size and a bit awkward for him to handle and for reading in bed. The font is kind of odd and makes some of the letters hard for him to recognize and on one page the words are white on a pink background so they don't stand out very well. On this particular page the words disappear into the center fold a bit as well. Over all we love this book!

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  • Posted March 27, 2010

    Loved this book!

    I read this story to my preschool class. It was a hit!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2006

    Another Mo Willems homerun!

    Every Mo Willems children book is worth a read. His books are a great addition to a children's library including this one. The sweet message and fun graphics make this book a favorite of my 2.5 year old.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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