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Letters to Leo

3.48  ·  Rating Details ·  217 Ratings  ·  68 Reviews
The joys and trials of fourth grade - and of life with her father now that her mother is gone - play out in charming letters from Annie to her dog, Leo.

Annie Rossi never, ever thought her father would let her have a dog. But now that he’s finally given in, she’s found the perfect ear for the stories of her day. She just writes them in a notebook hidden under the bed and re
Hardcover, 160 pages
Published March 27th 2012 by Candlewick
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Apr 21, 2014 Skye rated it liked it
Shelves: dog
Letters to Leo, by Amy Hest (Candlewick Press, 2012, 154 pages, $14.99, ages 8-12)

A fourth-grade girl wants a dog – how typical! Less typical is the story: Annie lives in New York City with her absent-minded professor dad and finally, finally gets a dog! Yippy skippy!

Annie writes to her dog, Leo, in a journal (hence, the title – Letters to Leo) and reads to Leo every night from the journal. Leo is a good listener, just like Annie loved to listen to her mother read at night.

Remember fourth grade?
Kimberly Bower (gladeslibrarian)
3/5 stars. Letters to Leo chronicles the life and times of a fourth-grade girl through letters she writes to her dog, Leo. I'm not head-over-heels in love with it, but it would appeal to some readers. The target audience seems to be middle to upper-middle class city girls who are cared for by au pairs and have the means to take their dogs to the groomers. Or, with those who dream of that sort of lifestyle. As expected with this writing format, the artwork is filled with hearts, flowers and pictu ...more
Fourth grade is nowhere near as enjoyable as third grade was, and Annie Rossi struggles through the days, some memorable, others miserable. One good part of the year, though, is her new dog Leo, to whom she writes letters over the course of the book, starting in November and ending in July. She describes herself at her best, when she's being kind to another classmate, and at her worst, when her admonishments cause her father to ride his bicycle too fast, resulting in a crash. Most of all, she mi ...more
Patricia Powell
Aug 27, 2012 Patricia Powell rated it really liked it
Shelves: middle-grade
Summer is here. Yahoo. Time to play. Time to read. You don’t HAVE to read, you GET to read. These two 150 page novels, liberally sprinkled with black and white illustrations can keep younger middle grade readers reading this summer.
In “Letters to Leo” by Amy Hest (Candlewick 2012), 4th grader, Annie Rossi writes a diary to her dog, Leo. Annie is an opinionated, loveable 4th grader. She feels the injustice of the world in a high-spirited and entertaining manner. All those rules—no eating in the
Nov 20, 2012 Kristin rated it really liked it
Letters to Leo is the story of a young girl, Annie who writes a series of letters to her dog.
The story begins introducing the reader to Annie, Annie’s father and Leo, her dog. It explains how her dad dislikes dogs but how she begged and pleaded to have this dog. Through the letters, we learn more about Annie’s day-to-day life. We learn that Annie has a great admiration for her third grade teacher Miss Meadows. With time, we learn that Annie’s mother passed away and her dad can be on the shy side
Inhabiting Books
Exuberant, opinionated Annie writes letters to her new dog Leo, that her father has allowed her to keep, despite his aversion to dogs. Through Annie's letters, which function as a diary of sorts, we see life through a fourth-grade girl's eyes. We learn that her mother died when she was very young, her father is apparantly worry-prone, and she's not liking fourth grade and her unsympathetic teacher (to whom she privately assigns some less than flattering nick-names). She longs to be back in third ...more
Katie Fitzgerald
As much as I enjoyed this sweet story, I’ll be the first to admit that not much about it is terribly new. Parents who don’t like dogs appear in lots of kids’ stories, as do deceased mothers, parent/teacher romances, strict teachers contrasted with kind ones, and classroom visits from authors. A few little embellishments here and there make the story Annie’s own, but I found myself easily predicting various plot points based on having heard these plot lines a million times before.

I do think the l
Sep 02, 2012 Linda rated it it was amazing
Amy Hest continues the life of Annie Rossi that began in the poignant book, Remembering Mrs. Rossi. Annie's in 4th grade now, and differences can be seen in her new ability to be more patient with friends. She gets angry sometimes when she doesn't get her way, but she handles the feeling well. There are sad moments when Annie shows clearly that losing her mother still can fill her mind, but they are fewer in this story. The book is told in letters to Leo, Annie's new dog, which she had fervently ...more
Ms. Yingling
Oct 15, 2012 Ms. Yingling rated it liked it
Annie is glad that she has a new puppy, and she's bound and determined that he will be a good dog for her father, who is a bit less than thrilled. Since Annie likes to write a lot, she writes advice, poems, etc. to Leo in order to make sense of her fourth grade year. Her teacher is a little mean (and expecting a baby) and not nearly as nice as her teacher last year, Ms. Meadows, whom she hopes will be interested in her father, since her mother has passed away. Her friend Jean-Marie moves to New ...more
A cute little book. I'm usually game for anything about a dog, no matter if it's an adult book or a kid's book. :) Annie writes to her new dog, Leo, like a journal of sorts. She tells him everything about her life. I thought the voice of the main character was very accurate for a fourth grader, and I loved how Annie always worried about being a good and nice person. I laughed out loud when Annie kept referring to her late-30s father as an "elderly parent"!
Jan 13, 2013 Richard rated it really liked it
My 6 year old daughter was reading this book. About a fourth grader, Annie, who writes letters to her new dog Leo, telling him about her day. The book reads more like a diary, with Annie telling Leo about the events of her day. Most of the words in the book are sight words used for younger readers. On average there are 2 more difficult words on each page that are used repetitively so the child learns new words. My daughter enjoyed reading the book. The first 50 pages or so are slow starting and ...more
Nov 18, 2012 Shayla.boyle rated it it was ok
A story of a young girl named Annie, this book is written through a series of letters she writes to her dog. The story begins introducing the reader to Annie, her father, and Leo the dog. It explains how her dad dislikes dogs yet Annie begged and pleaded for her dog. Through the letters we learn about Annie's day to day life. Also, we learn about Annie's admination for her teacher, that her mother passed away, and her father is shy. Annie reveals all of this to her dog, as well as expectations s ...more
Jennie Machines
Dec 22, 2012 Jennie Machines rated it it was amazing
This book absolutely touched my heart. I'm not sure if it was because this only child's best friend is her dog Leo, because her mother also passed away when she was little, because she is a girl being raised by her father or a nice mix of all the these factors that are similar to my own life that made me enthralled with this book.

From the first list in the book in which Annie tells Leo how to be a perfect dog, I knew I was going to be smitten with this book. "2. Pretend my father is your best fr
Jul 29, 2012 Laura rated it really liked it
Though a follow-up to Remembering Mrs. Rossi, this quick children's novel stands perfectly well on its own. Annie really, really wants a dog of her own and finally manages to persuade her father to adopt the ever-charming Leo. In a series of letters to her beloved pet, Annie gives advice about how to be a good pet, describes her experiences in school, and highlights her elementary school friendships.

A great read in letter format for students in grades 2 - 4, depending on reading level. I do thi
Dec 29, 2013 Mary rated it liked it
Shelves: 2014-3rd-grade
Cute story in letter form told from the perspective of a 4th grade girl living in NYC and going to public school. Her mother passed away (we don't know when but Annie has lots of memories of her), her father is a professor and they just adopted a dog, Leo. Not that difficult to read -- lots of illustrations -- the author seems to have a good insight into how a 4th grader's mind works, although Annie sometimes comes off as very young. The book takes her through her entire 4th grade year, and we l ...more
Aug 05, 2015 Kim rated it it was amazing
I absolutely LOVE this book! Written from the point of view of a 4th grade girl, and done in letters, drawings, and poems, all for her dog Leo, the reader becomes a part of Annie's every day world.
Melissa Benassi
I really enjoyed reading Letters to Leo. It reminded me of my lovely little angel boy Benny who is the love of my life. I talk to my dog the same way Anni talks to Leo.
Jan 21, 2016 Robyne rated it liked it
gr-3. A girl starts a diary to her new dog. Heart-warming story especially when we learn that life has not always been so easy for Annie.
Letters to Leo is a story told through letters a 4th grade girl namd Annie writes to her dog (they're kind of like diary entries) detailing her school and home life. One of my favorite entries is from March 30th: "I used to like fourth-grade science, but not anymore. It's because of Chapter 7. 'Our Amazing Human Body.' I hate saying all those human body part words...out loud in school! Just to be sure I don't say them, I don't raise my hand...Mrs. Meanest called on my anyway, and I had to say 'l ...more
Aug 05, 2014 Tevai rated it it was amazing
This was the best book I've ever ever read it funny cute I definitely rue amend theirs book to other people
Apr 25, 2014 Julie rated it really liked it
Cute story written in a diary form. The main character, Annie, writes all of entries to her dog.
Feb 17, 2014 Julia rated it it was amazing
An adorable, short chapter book that girls will love. Especially if they have a dog :-)
Aug 29, 2016 Alyson rated it it was ok
Really more 2 1/2. See for details!
Angie  Moore
Jan 09, 2016 Angie Moore rated it really liked it
Cute book! Perfect for 3rd or 4th graders!
Madeline N
Jul 17, 2015 Madeline N rated it really liked it
I liked some of the letters.
Carrie Zimmer
Oct 25, 2014 Carrie Zimmer rated it really liked it
Cute, for the 8-10 set.
Jun 22, 2012 Donna rated it liked it
Shelves: mock-newberry

Sequel to Remembering Mrs. Rossi, Annie is back and this time her father finally lets her get a dog. The fourth grader copes with life by writing letters to Leo and then reading them to him at night, just like her Mom used to read to her. Annie’s problems are typical, boys, school, best friend moving away. We learn about the other characters in the book through Annie’s voice.
I liked this book and can see many of my students enjoying this.
Apr 24, 2012 Christiane rated it liked it
I didn't realize until after reading this that it is the second book about Annie Rossi; it's fine to read this one first. Annie's dad has reluctantly agreed to adopt a puppy, and the book is letter's Annie writes (and reads) to Leo, the dog. It is very sweet, and nicely illustrated with drawings that really help express Annie and Leo's characters. A happy ending for the family is pretty much promised at the end!
Jul 16, 2012 Heather rated it really liked it
I only vaguely remember the book Remembering Mrs. Rossi, so I think readers who haven't yet met Annie will be just fine. (They may want to go back and read the other book later, though!) I love Annie's letters to her new dog, Leo, as well as her homework assignments and other notes. Annie will very likely appeal to fans of Sara Pennypacker's Clementine.
Jan 11, 2014 Jasana rated it really liked it
*I won this through Goodreads First Reads*

This book is absolutely adorable. The main character, Annie is a cute character who loves her new dog, Leo. Little kids will absolutely adore this book, because it's funny and easy to read. My little sister loved this because she said, quote "The photos are nice and I like Annie. Can we get a puppy like Leo?"
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Amy Hest is a three-time winner of the Christopher Medal and winner of the BOSTON GLOBE-HORN BOOK Award. She lives in New York City.
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