Perfect Picture Book Friday: Leo the Late Bloomer…and the winner is…

Today is Perfect Picture Book Friday where I link up with Susannah Leonard Hill’s fantastic group of writers who contribute a picture book review and related resources. 

But first,I want to announce the January PPP Reading Challenge picture book winner.  It was lovely to see everyone’s reading list…thank you all for sharing and taking the time (which I know is precious and in short supply) to add your comments.  And the winner is…two winners, actually…Jennifer at Toy Box Years and Milka at Perfecting Motherhood.  I’ll email you both so you can let me know where to send the books.  I’m looking forward to reading the comments this month…another picture book prize for at least one lucky commenter.

And now, on to my PPBF selection: Leo the Late Bloomer



Leo the Late Bloomer

Written by Robert Kraus

Illustrated by Jose Aruego

Publishers: HarperCollins

Ages: 3 – 7

Themes: Mastering tasks and skills, maturation

Opening: “Leo couldn’t do anything right.”


Leo, a little tiger cub, seems slow to mature.  He cannot read, write, eat neatly, draw…or even talk.  His father wonders if Leo will ever learn to do these things, but Leo’s mother tells her husband to have patience.   Will Leo’s father stop watching to see if Leo is blooming?  Does Leo ever catch up to his more accomplished animal friends?

Why do I like this book:

Children mature at different rates…and they all have unique strengths.  This is a story that encourages and gives hope to young children who may be slower at learning to tie shoelaces or zip jackets or write their name.  And perhaps it may also help those parents who worry when a child does not perform at the same level or accomplish the same things as an older brother or sister. 

The text is ultra-simple!  The glorious illustrations capture Leo’s father’s frustration and Leo’s joy with life itself.  Check out the “snowmen” that each animal builds…young children love seeing the snow-elephant, the snow-snake, the snow-bird, the snow-owl and the snow-crocodile.  Leo, of course, cannot make one and goes chasing after a rabbit.  This is a story every child and parent can relate to.

Related Activities:

Daisy Chain Necklace: great for developing fine motor coordination (this project is also suitable for any holiday…just use the traditional colors, such as red and green for Christmas, pastels for Easter, etc.)


You will need: Strips of colored construction paper (1” x 6”), markers or crayons and a glue stick.

1.      Decorate each strip as desired…flower patterns, numbers, letters, zigzags, dots, etc.

2.      Put glue on the edge of one strip.  Form a loop and press together.  Help the child count to 30.

3.      Put glue on the edge of another strip.  Thread it through the loop and press.  Count to 30 again. Now you have the beginning of the chain.

4.      Continue until there are enough links in the chain so it will fit over the child’s head and around the neck comforably.

I’ve done this project with kindergarten children and they love making each strip unique.  They also have a lot of fun counting to 30 as they press the edges together!  Of course, there are always a couple of “clever” kids who count by 5’s or 10’s to get to 30 faster…the different rates of maturation of children (like tiger cubs) in action…but their edges often don’t stay stuck!


This post is part of a series for parents and teachers called Perfect Picture Book Fridays hosted by Susannah Leonard Hill.  Click on her link and find lots of other picture book suggestions with summaries and activities.

About viviankirkfield

Writer for children - Reader forever Mom of 3, educator, author of FOUR OTTERS TOBOGGAN: AN ANIMAL COUNTING BOOK (Pomegranate Press, 2019), PIPPA'S PASSOVER PLATE (Holiday House, 2019), FROM HERE TO THERE: INVENTIONS THAT CHANGED THE WAY WE MOVE (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2019), SWEET DREAMS, SARAH (Creston Books, 2019), picture book junkie, lover of travel, hiking, fly-fishing, cooking, and playing Monopoly with my 9-year old grandson.

Posted on February 3, 2012, in 2012 Positive Parental Participation Challenge, children's picture books, Perfect Picture Book Friday and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 48 Comments.

  1. Oh my gosh, I won something??? Thank you!

    Is this the page to share the books we read in February, by the way?


    • Congratulations, Milka…Yes, yes, yes…you did win a picture book. So please give me an address where I can send it. You can email me at 🙂

      And no, the post I did yesterday is the “official” comment for February page…just because it is easier for me if the comments pertaining to the reading challenge aren’t all spread out…however, that said, I always look through all the month’s comments on every post to make sure I haven’t missed any. You can get to the correct post by clicking the Positive Parental Participation Challenge logo on the top right sidebar. 🙂


  2. Sounds like a great book!!


  3. What an important message for children AND parents. This sounds like it would be wonderfully reassuring and so sweet at the same time. Great choice!


    • Thank you so much, Joanna! I love that picture books are beautiful to look at and fun to read and provide a wonderful opportunity for parent-child bonding and developing reading readiness and literacy skills…but I’m all about the messages in picture books helping children deal with specific issues. 🙂


  4. Great choice, Vivian! I was (and still am, haha) a late bloomer, so I can imagine how comforting this book must be for kids. Thanks for sharing it!


  5. This sounds wonderful. Thanks for great review.


    • It’s especially fun because I get to read the book to groups of little ones and do the activity and can see their reaction first-hand. I’ll be stopping by everyone’s reviews tonight, Penny…have to run to work right now. 🙂


  6. What a wonderful book for both kids and parents. Not only would it be helpful for kids who are late-bloomers, but also to increase awareness and understanding in kids who are early-bloomers, and may become impatient, or tease late-bloomers.

    Thanks for sharing!


  7. This book would be prefect for my nephew! Thanks so much for the review!


  8. We’ve always loved this book in our house. Great choice!


  9. I love this book and what wonderful activities. I can always count on you to share a creative activity! Thank you. So many teachers have such good ideas with their PPB that translate into the classroom. Enjoyed this a lot.


    • Thank you, Pat. I’ve always concentrated on the classics in picture books…and that’s why I’m so thrilled to be part of Susannah’s PPBF…I’m getting to hear about lots of the new great picture books out there! What an amazing resource for parents and teachers she is putting together!


  10. I love Leo the Late Bloomer as it is truly a classic. Vivian, you always do such an impressive job with your activity ideas. You really go above and beyond. Keep up the great work! 🙂


    • Natalie…you made my night. 🙂 Just got home from work and I’m reading the comments before I go and visit everyone else’s PPBF entry…I so appreciate your kind words. I’ve always loved doing crafts with children and I delight in their delight. 🙂


  11. Catherine Johnson

    What a lovely book and a super craft to do to go with it. I love making paper chains. This is a great idea.


  12. I like the theme of this book. As parents, we sometimes want to rush things along. Patience is good for both children and parents.


    • You are right, Stacy! And sometimes it is hard not to compare one child to a sibling or neighbor’s child. That’s why I love this story…each child is a unique individual with his own time-line of development and maturation. 🙂


  13. Oh my, Vivian, what a lovely review of a truly classic book. You know. We never read this one. I am going to buy it this time. The activity is awesome. Thank you for your thoughtful reviews and activities. Bravo to you. 🙂


  14. This is a book with a great message! It’s good for kids to know that everyone is different and grows differently. 🙂


    • You are right, Erik!
      Also, a great book for parents to read because it may help rein in those that are putting too much pressure on their kids or are making them feel badly about not being able to do this or that yet. 🙂


  15. This sounds like a wonderful message. I love the activity too 🙂 Chains are so much fun to make! Great idea!


    • Everyone seems to like the chains…I am all about keeping it simple with young children. With a piece of paper, crayons and a glue stick…they can just about conquer the world…well, perhaps not the world, but at least have a LOT of fun and hone skills they will need in the future.


  16. An excellent choice! Parents can get lost in a sea of charts and checklists of how kids are supposed to develop. This book would be a good reminder to them that their kids are just fine as they are.


    • Oh, I love that thought. 🙂
      You are right…there are so many books (and experts) out there who tell us what kids should be doing and when…and although it is important for parents and teachers to be aware of developmental stages, it is also important to let our kids be kids…and play…and cut and paste…and be imaginative..and creative!


  17. You have a great blog my friend glad to meet you via jackie
    more power to your blog 🙂


  18. Not only is the book a great choice but I love the craft that goes with it. I think it is so important that kids know how to count and this is a perfect way to teach them. My book “Annie’s Special Day” teaches numbers 1-24 only because of time and how many hours there are in the day. If I ever get a school visit can I use this craft to teach numbers? I also thought of making paper plate clocks after the story is read. 🙂 But this is one that may be necessary for even younger kids. Thanks for sharing.


    • Hi Clar,
      Thank you so kindly for your lovely words of praise. 🙂 You are more than welcome to use any craft or idea I put out there…my mission in life is to share what I have…a smile, a craft idea, a loving word…in hopes it will help someone else. 🙂
      I love the idea of using the paper plate for the clock…I am a fan of paper plates (and corrugated egg cartons and brown paper lunch bags and cereal boxes and anything else that can be recycled or is made of paper and is inexpensive to buy). In the “Cornelius P. Mud, Are You Ready for Bed?” craft, I have the children draw and cut out the clock face and glue it on a rectangular piece of paper…but I think, especially with very very young kids, the paper plate would be perfect…thank you!


  19. LOVE this book – such a wonderful reminder that children really do develop at their own pace.

    Thanks for sharing with us on the Sunday Showcase.


    • Oh, I am so pleased you stopped by! Yes, it is a great classic…glad you liked it! I LOVE your linky that shares so many awesome craft ideas! Such a wonderful resource for parents and teachers. 🙂


  20. This sounds like a great book! Thanks for sharing!


  21. Vivian,

    I awarded you a Liebster Blog Award. It’s listed on my site:



  22. Such a good message for children and parents! I love this book. Thank you so much for adding it to our list – I think it’s one everyone should read 🙂 Great activity, too!


  23. Congratulations to your winner! 🙂


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