Skip to main content

A Letter for Leo by Sergio Ruzzier




I have been deeply negligent in never reviewing a book by illustrator and author Sergio Ruzzier before now, although I have long loved his work, especially Love You When You Whine by the wonderful Emily Jenkins. And, while I am remiss, I am also thrilled that Ruzzier's new book, the thoughtful, charming A Letter for Leo, is the first of his books I am reviewing here.

Leo is a mailman in a little old town. When I read a book illustrated by Ruzzier, I am transported to his world immediately. I think this is, in part, because his illustrations and palette remind me of favorite books from my childhood, specifically Arnold Lobel's The Ice Cream Cone Coot and other Rare Birds. Like Lobel, the worlds Ruzzier creates in his books feel a little bit strange, a little bit foreign and entirely intriguing. 


Cool blues and greens sit quietly next to warm pinks, oranges and yellows in a landscape that can look like a dusty Italian village on one page and a moonscape on the next. Add to this Ruzzier's characters who look wise and silly, often at the same times, and you begin to understand why children are drawn to his books. 

Leo loves delivering the mail of all shapes and sizes to his neighbors, even stopping for a game of bocce or a rest and a chat. However, Leo has a "pleasant life, except for one thing." He has never received a letter himself! There are so many directions A Letter for Leo could have taken at this point, but the path Ruzzier chooses is a sweet surprise. When Leo finds a lost little bird in the mailbox, he takes him home and gives him some "sun-dried crickets he always keeps in his satchel for emergencies," and decides to take him in, naming him Cheep. 


The two become a little family and in springtime, the inevitable goodbyes happen as the little bird has grown big enough to rejoin his flock. I am sure you can guess the ending of A Letter for Leo, but that doesn't make the final pages any less rewarding. 




More books written and illustrated by 
Sergio Ruzzier!







Books illustrated by Sergio Ruzzier and written by kid's book greats like Eve Bunting, Lore Segal and a favorite of mine, Emily Jenkins!


(Coming January, 2015)









Source: Review Copy


Comments

"Wise and silly" is my new favorite phrase, possibly my favorite phrase ever! I too am a fan of Sergio Ruzzier and will look forward to reading this one. (And the Whine book, which I'm not familiar with!)

Popular posts from this blog

Made by Dad: 67 Blueprints for Making Cool Stuff - Projects You Can Build For (and With) Kids! by Scott Bedford

On his personal website, Scott Bedforddescribes himself as an "Award Winning Online Creative Professional" working within the advertising and design industry. What is more interesting (and applicable here) is how hisWhat I Made website came to be. While sitting in a Starbucks with his restless young sons, trying to enjoy his latte, Bedford created something out of coffee stir sticks that ended up keeping his boys entertained, finishing his coffee in peace and sparking (re-sparking, really) his creative drive and reminding him of the "enormous joy gained from making things, even simple things, and that this joy is not the complexity or quality of the finished project but in the process of making itself. On Bedford'sWhat I Made website, he even shares Six Cool Coffee Shop Crafts for Kidsthat you can try out next time you want to enjoy your coffee and your kids are making that difficult. I've shared two below - be sure to check out the website and see the rest!

Be…

POP-UP: Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book, paper engineering by Ruth Wickings, illustrations by Frances Castle RL: All ages

POP-UP:  Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book with paper engineering by Ruth Wickings and illustrations by Frances Castle is THE COOLEST BOOK EVER!!!  I know that I haven't dedicated much time to pop-up books here, but they have always held a special place in my heart, and the phrase "paper engineering" is a favorite of mine. Although I didn't know what it was at the time, I did go through a paper engineering phase when I was ten or so. I would sneak off to the back of the classroom during independent work periods and go to town on the construction paper and glue and make these little free-standing dioramas. A huge fan of The Muppet Show (the original), I reconstructed the all-baby orchestra from an episode, drawing and coloring each baby and his/her instrument then gluing them onto a 3D orchestra section I had crafted out of brown construction paper.  I also made a 3D version of Snidely Whiplash throwing Nell off a cliff with Dudley Do-Right wa…

How to Choose Age Appropriate Books for Advanced Readers

How to Choose Age Appropriate Books for Advanced Readers remains the most read post on my blog since I wrote it in 2012. Because of this, I have cleaned up this post, tightened the writing and added in any pertinent information that has come about since it originally ran. When I first started books4yourkids.com in August of 2008, I was scrambling for content, finding my purpose and my voice and not always doing my best writing. How to Choose Age Appropriate Books for Advanced Readers was one of the first articles I wrote and, as a bookseller and a book reviewer, and now as an elementary school librarian where I have gone from working with kids reading well beyond their grade level to kids reading well below, this philosophy remains my organizing principle and central focus when reading and recommending books to parents and children. 

In the interest of my mission and the attention this article continues to receive, I have updated and expanded this article and included a guide to using …