Leo the Late Bloomer is written by Robert Kraus and illustrated by Jose Aruego. The target audience of this picture book is first and second grade boys and girls.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars
Summary: Leo the Late Bloomer is the story of a tiger that is not developing like all the other tiger’s and his father is concerned. This mother is reassuring and says that everyone develops at their own pace. Leo eventually blooms just as his other animal friend have.
This is a fantastic story to use in a classroom to talk about difference and development with students at an early age. Many students go through periods where they feel they might not be as athletic, artistic, or less skilled in academic subjects as their peers and this book talks about how it is okay to feel that way because everyone develops at their own rate. There is a lot of differentiation of skills within a classroom and using this picture book can be a great way to convey that message to students. Sometimes students cannot understand why they are not like their peers but this book really speaks that it is okay to be different. Today there are a lot of problems with bullying and students being picked on for being different. This book can be tied into an anti-bullying message also in that even though everyone can develop differently, everyone makes it eventually.
The illustrations are really well done too. They were created from watercolors and the images are extremely vibrant and eye catching not to mention kid friendly. They clearly depict that is happening with the story and goes nicely along with the text on each page. The other “developing” animals are always shown happy and having a good time with friends while Leo is always shown unhappy with a frown on his face until he reaches that point where he blooms. This can relate to students in that this is exactly how they may be feeling and they can see it in a visual way, especially for learners who are more visual instead of auditory.
Leo The Late Bloomer also comes with an option of an audio CD that may be a different approach to having students listen to the story. Students can use it to read to themselves with a CD player possibly at a station within the classroom or if possible all students can have a copy of the book and listen along with the CD as a class.
Click here for a lesson plan over Leo The Late Bloomer.
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