I’m not sure if this story is more encouraging to Mama Bookworm or to my little bookworms. We are in week one of potty learning in our house, and this book has been a balm to my worried mind: “Then one day, in his own good time, Leo bloomed!”
Each Thursday I’ll be featuring a book that my parents *could* have read to me as a child (spoiler alert: I’m no spring chicken), so we will go with a publication date of 1988 or earlier; all books must still be in print as of my writing.
Title/author: Leo the Late Bloomer by Robert Kraus
Copyright date: 1971
Plot in a Sentence (or two): Leo’s father is worried because Leo hasn’t yet met the milestones that the other animals have achieved; Leo’s mother reassures him that Leo is just a late bloomer, and in his own time, Leo blooms indeed!
Why It’s Timeless: “We all watch our children as they grow, for signs that all is well. We crave evidence, both of their healthy development and of our own competence as parents, and lacking any other source of information, we scan the playground for comparisons.” New York Times blogger Jessica Lahey hit the nail on the head for me in her post, Give Late Blooming Children The Time They Need. While a degree of awareness of milestones is certainly warranted, in my own case I often need a reminder of the large range of childhood development norms. Sure my friend potty trained her son at 19 months, but my 35 month old son is now ready, on his own timeline. And that’s okay. If you or your bookworm needs a gentle reminder to exercise patience, you’ll find one in Kraus’s Leo.
While You’re Reading: After your initial reading, invite your bookworm to read the tiger family’s facial expressions throughout to determine how each one is feeling. Ask your bookworm why each might be feeling that way. On the final page, you can celebrate Leo’s smile and the success he achieved through patience and perseverance. Talk with your bookworms about some achievements they’ve experienced that you or they are proud of, and about some skills they’d like to learn more about.
Just for Fun: This book provides a nice opportunity to share memories of “before” your bookworm could do something, and the process of hard work in learning that skill. “When you were a little baby you didn’t know how to pick books out at the library. You used to tear the books down from the shelf in big piles! You didn’t know where the books about trains are kept. Now you know how to find the books you like, how to check them out with the librarian, and how to read them with mommy! You’re growing so fast!”
Kraus’s much newer title (yet sadly out of print), Little Louie the Baby Bloomer (1998), offers a similar story with the addition of a baby brother for Leo. When baby bro proves to also be a late bloomer, Leo decides to help teach his brother some new skills, but he discovers that he has his own unique way of doing things that is lots of fun. This is a great sibling book for the stage when younger siblings are beyond the baby stage but not quite to the level of play that older siblings might anxiously want.
Leo, Louie, and Ferdinand should be readily available at your local library, or at the Amazon affiliate links provided.