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Henry & Leo

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  619 ratings  ·  145 reviews
Leo isn’t just a stuffed toy, he is Henry’s best friend and brother. He is as real as a tree, a cloud, the sun, the moon, the stars, and the wind. But when the two are accidentally separated, no one in Henry’s family believes Leo is real enough to find his way home.   
     With beautiful mixed-media paintings, the Caldecott Honor–winning artist Pamela Zagarenski explores
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published October 4th 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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Average rating 4.04  · 
Rating details
 ·  619 ratings  ·  145 reviews

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Jan 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is so beautifully illustrated, I could just sit and stare at the pages. The story is magical and perfect for children. The story is about Henry the child, and his stuffed toy Leo who becomes lost. A great read! One to keep. 5*****
While I do much appreciate and even love the entire concept of Pamela Zagarenski's Henry and Leo (a sweet and tenderly evocative tale about a stuffed toy lion who is not only a young boy's constant companion, but is to the boy a living and breathing entity, and whose love for and belief in his toy lion actually make said lion become real and animated), I have to admit that I really do tend to enjoy the featured narrative considerably more than the majority of the accompanying illustrations (Pame ...more
Dec 16, 2016 rated it liked it
I loved the wordless part in the middle. I loved the lion when he was the hero, and the paintings of the forest and the wildlife. However, I did not like the paintings of the people, or even the house, or the text. I wish the whole book was wordless and focused on Leo.

Or, at least, it could have been framed more like Where the Wild Things Are, with less text and fewer, smaller, quieter paintings at the beginning and end. I suppose the author had to be careful not to plagiarize, but I think she
Michele Knott
Oct 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book is going to resonate with many young readers who have toys that mean the world to them.
Edward Sullivan
Oct 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
An exquisitely illustrated, beautifully told tale that gracefully blends the real and the imaginary.
Apr 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Readers Looking for Children's Stories About Imaginary Friends
When Henry and his family go for a walk in Nearby Wood, and the young boy loses his stuffed lion Leo, no one seems to understand how serious of a situation it is. His well-intentioned family try to comfort Henry by telling him that Leo isn't real, but the boy thinks of Leo as his best friend, and knows that he is as real as anyone else. As Henry goes to bed worried, the lost Leo enlists the aid of various woodland creatures in getting himself home, leading to a happy reunion the following day.

Dec 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Wow! I love this book. Henry loves his stuffed toy lion Leo. He loves it so much that he feels Leo is real. One day, Henry and Leo take a walk through the woods with Henry's family. When he gets home and climbs into bed, he realizes Leo is missing. He is worried for Leo but his family assures him that they will look for Leo in the morning and that Leo will be fine. Illustrations then convey what happens to Leo and a beautiful reunion occurs the next morning.

I love the illustrations. They are bea
Linda Lipko
Jan 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
Young Henry loves his lion stuffed animal named Leo. In his mind, Leo is real. He and Leo have adventures and Leo listens to Henry. Dispite what his parents tell him, Henry holds fast to the knowledge that Leo is alive.

When the family goes on a trip into the woods, that night, Henry realizes Leo is still in the woods. Firm in his belief that Leo will find his way home, still, he is worried...deeply worried.

As the reader sees via the lovely illustrations. Leo finds his way home with the help of h
Katie Fitzgerald
Sometimes I like this illustrator's art and other times, it doesn't work for me. In this story, about the bond between a boy and his beloved stuffed animal, I mostly liked it (including the crowns hovering over the heads of all the characters that have so many Goodreads reviewers mystified). The "losing a stuffed animal" story has been told dozens of times, but there is something particularly sweet about this telling, and I liked its nod toward books like The Velveteen Rabbit that imagine that s ...more
Dec 15, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture
I didn't find this as interesting as The Whisper but the pictures were nice. She repeats a lot of the visual motifs (crowns, lions, the fox) which I'm now wondering about. Just her thing? They seemed to make sense in The Whisper because I took them as manifestations of the stories that the character was imagining, but I don't get what they meant in this context, if anything. ...more
Michael Fitzgerald
Jul 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
I like the illustration style, though I could do without her trademark little crowns. I also don't like the nonsense of how this kid and his stuffed animal "loved each other" - that's a bit much. But I very much like the flow of this book, particularly the wordless section - very well done. ...more
May 10, 2017 rated it it was ok
I liked the concept of this book. A little boy believes that his stuffed lion Leo is "alive." After an outside family excursion Henry loses Leo and is afraid he'll never see him again. This is the part of the book I liked. There are no words, but the book illustrates Leo finding his way home. I'm glad Leo was safe. I liked the illustrations, but I didn't get why everyone had a crown. Also, Leo didn't talk before he was lost, but he said he loved Henry once he returned home, I'm not sure if this ...more
3.5 out of 5

Pamela Zagarenski's mixed-media paintings are stunning:

Also, the sequence of five wordless doublespreads in the middle of the book adds multiple interpretations to a seemingly simple story told in words. Well done!
Oct 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017, childrens-books
Gorgeous illustrations, like always, and a story that evokes both The Velveteen Rabbit and Calvin & Hobbes.
Yolanda Smith
Mar 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Zagarenski is, hands down, one of my favorite contemporary children’s book illustrators.
The Library Lady
A. I don't give a damn about Caldecott awards, and if you need to tout that on your cover, you're not that great.
B. I don't like angular, ugly people with clown red spots on their faces, and reddened noses.
C. What's with all the crowns?
D. The text is awkward, and the wordless pictures muddled.
E. The appeal is there for artsy-fartsy adults, particularly those who select books based on THEIR tastes. For kids? Not so much!
Kristina Jean Lareau
Incredibly detailed mixed-media brings Henry's stuffed lion, Leo to life. When parted in the forest during a walk, Leo gains the help of forest animals for him to find his way home. Beautiful.

I love the endpapers starting the story of Henry's friendship with Leo--almost as a flashback. I also love the use of crowns to depict a human-like consciousness. So clever and creates such a magical experience.
Nov 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
When Henry loses his stuffed lion Leo while hiking in the woods, he struggles to make his family understand just how real Leo is to him and how special their bond.

In a wordless spread, Leo asks the forest animals for help getting back home to Henry and by morning the pair are reunited and their love for one another is reaffirmed.

I'm not usually one for stories about toys, but this book truly warmed my heart and captures a very important childhood bond in possibly the best way I've ever read.

Nov 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Such an adorable tale that celebrates the way children believe that their toys are "real." While these illustrations aren't really my favorite style, I love the way they work in this particular story. When Leo is left in the Nearby Woods, Henry is devastated and hopes that Leo will find his way home. (view spoiler) A beautiful sto ...more
Dec 24, 2016 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
This is a sweet story about the love and friendship that a young boy feels when he's with his beloved stuffed lion share. The narrative is short and somewhat predictable; its the mixed media illustrations that really bring the story to life.

This book was selected as one of the books for the December 2016- Toy Stories discussion at the Picture-Book Club in the Children's Books Group here at Goodreads.
Julie Seifert
Oct 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I looooved this one. I definitely connected to Henry, who loves his stuffed animal, even though everyone tells him it isn't real. And I also lost my beloved stuffed animal as a kid and still remember how scary it was. Also, the illustrations were beautiful. ...more
Nov 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Loved this one. Perfect story for both kids and adults, and interesting, muted, layered illustrations.
Feb 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I wanted to read Henry & Leo because I adored The Whisper, and I was not disappointed. When I was a very small child, I had a much beloved monkey that sucked his own thumb. Thumby (yeah, yeah, I know) was accidentally left at a hotel and there was much weeping. The hotel staff shipped him to our house, bless their hearts, and the world went on revolving around the sun. This book is for everyone like me, who lost a favorite toy that wasn't just a toy, and was reunited. I just wanted to hug the bo ...more
Mar 21, 2017 rated it liked it
I tried explaining the Caldecott Honor to a group of pre-k children the other day. (It was pretty funny.) If you're unfamiliar, the Caldecott Medal and the Caldecott Honor are awarded to American illustrators whose work is singled out by the ALA as being "the most distinguished picture book for children". [Note: This does have a bearing on this post.]

I had decided to use a different style of picture book for my storytime and I chose to use Henry & Leo by Pamela Zagarenski. Two of the books that
Bonnie Lambourn
Jul 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-book
I am becoming a big fan of Pamela Zagarenski. Her artwork is definitely stylized with personal symbols and animals she must love either from childhood or ideas of their meaning to her [common in nature settings, spirit animals?] - which I've seen repeated in both this book and her book The Whisper. It is also beautifully drawn with tender characters, muted colors of overlaid shapes, and spots of color attracting attention to the important characters in each scene, definite influences of Chagall, ...more
Mar 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Caldecott #2
Genre: Fantasy
Audience: Primary
Text to Text: Toy story, just because when no one is watching the toys walk and they found their way home.
Text to Self: When I was little I used to tell people that I could communicate with my animals through mental telepathy, which to a certain extent, I still kind of believe. I do feel a close connection to my pets and I feel like I know what they are thinking and especially with my dog Jupiter, when she looks me in the eye I know what she wants or n
Aug 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This evocative read-aloud story about friendship and love is accompanied by enchanting mixed-media illustrations. Henry has loved Leo, his stuffed lion and his best friend, since he got him on his second birthday. For Henry, Leo is real. After Henry and his family return home from a walk in the Nearby Woods, Henry realizes that Leo is no longer with him. He tells his mother, “Leo will be scared.” She replies, “He is real only in your imagination,” and promises that they will search for Leo in th ...more
Stephanie Croaning
Jan 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017, picture-books
This is the story of Henry, a boy who has a special relationship with his stuffed lion, Leo. To Henry, Leo is more than a toy.
To Henry, Leo was as real as his mother, his father, and his sister. As real as a tree, a cloud, the sun, the moon, the stars, and the wind.
After a walk with his family one evening, Henry gets home and discovers that Leo was lost somewhere in the woods. In magical, wordless scenes that occur during the night, the reader sees how the animals of the forest care for Leo and
Christine Turner
Leo isn't just a stuffed toy, he is Henry's best friend and brother. He is as real as a tree, a cloud, the sun, the moon, the stars, and the wind. But when the two are accidentally separated, no one in Henry's family believes Leo is real enough to find his way home. With beautiful mixed-media paintings, the Caldecott Honor-winning artist Pamela Zagarenski explores the transcendent nature of friendship and love.

Pamela Zagarenski is the winner of two Caldecott Honors, and her books have been
Krystal Shoop-Hardin
Aug 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: love
I loved this precious story of Henry and his favorite stuffed toy lion Leo. Leo and Henry are best friends through thick and thin. When Leo is accidentally left in the woods, the forest animal friends help him to find his home again. The illustrations are so detailed with water colors and drawing and special artist techniques. Ms. Zagarenski won two Caldecott Awards for this book. It is truly enchanting. She likes to hide animals in the pictures throughout the entire book. Creatures are always w ...more
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What do the crowns represent? 2 16 Nov 13, 2016 12:18PM  

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Caldecott Honor Medalist Pamela Zagarenski is a brilliant painter of many worlds. As well as illustrating picture books, she creates sculptures and large paintings, which can be viewed at an art gallery in Mystic, Connecticut. She divides her time between Stonington, Connecticut, and her house on Prince Edward Island.

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