Leo the Late Bloomer
by Robert Kraus, illus. by Jose Aruego
This tiger cub may lag behind the rest, but he catches up in his own good time. “Leo couldn’t do anything right,” the book begins. “He couldn’t read. He couldn’t write.” The illustrations depict Leo woefully watching an owl, elephant, snake, bird (a “plover”) and crocodile gleefully reading books and writing their names. To make matters worse, Leo is a sloppy eater, and “he never said a word.” Leo’s father worries about his boy, but his mother simply says, “Leo’s just a late bloomer.” Through the snows and the spring, Leo struggles on. “Then one day, in his own good time, Leo bloomed!” He can read, he can write, he can draw, and he even speaks, “I made it!” he says. Leo’s example offers some much-needed encouragement to youngsters who simply take a bit longer to master their talents.