Leo the Late Bloomer was a great favourite of mine as a child in the seventies, and glancing around the internet, I see I'm not the only one who remembers this classic American picture book. As far as I can tell this book is no longer available in the UK, but when my first child was born my mother kindly ordered me a copy from the US, bringing back floods of memories. By now that nostalgic present is almost unreadable, it's been so well-thumbed and fought over at bed times.
Why, oh why, do all the tigers look exactly the same?
This really confused me. I can remember seeing the difference between Leo and his parents when they all sat together because of their sizes, but when they were spread out across a double page, uncertainty returned. And it must have really bothered me too, because the same feelings of bemusement come back today when I read the book, and prompt me to explain, 'now, remember, this one is Leo...
A small -- a very small -- blemish on an otherwise perfect book.
Leo the Late Bloomer is still available in France, and I was delighted to see it's one of the titles in my three-year-old's school book club. This means we'll soon be getting our fourth copy of this delightful tale of frustration, patience and triumph.
Leo the Late Bloomer (which is heartily recommended, especially if you have already got your copy of Jack's Tractor and just need a little something to go with it), by Robert Kraus and Jose Aruego (Illus.) is published in the US by Windmill Books through HarperCollins, and in France as Léo by Ecole des Loisirs.