Letters to Leo
author: Amy Hest
illustrator: Julia Denos
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 reads them to Leo in her soft night voice, like the one her mother used when reading to Annie at bedtime before she died. And Annie sure has a million stories to tell! There’s mean Edward, who brags about his “noble goldfish” and gets her in trouble for accidentally lobbing a volleyball into his nose. There’s her best friend, Jean-Marie, who ups and moves to New Jersey (and wants to borrow Leo for company!). There’s the poem Annie writes about her mom, which Miss Meadows asks her to read for the class. And there’s her professor dad, who is finally coming out of his shell, even though he is an elderly forty-year-old with a serious personality. Genuine and funny, Amy Hest’s first-person narration revisits a winning young character as she takes on a new year — and a new dog — with humor, honesty, and resiliency.
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.