Henry & Leo


  • Henry & Leo
  • written and illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski
  • published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (2016)
  • Roar Score: 4/5

“I guess we can never really know what makes one particular toy more special than another.”

Henry & Leo is a beautiful ode to the love we all have for our stuffed friends and what happens when they accidentally take a wrong turn and get lost. (We read another recent book on this same topic, which is admittedly near and dear to our hearts.)

This is the story of Henry and his favorite toy in the whole world – a stuffed lion named Leo.  Henry and Leo go everywhere together and are inseparable…until the day they are separated during a walk in the woods.

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The Whisper


  • The Whisper
  • written and illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski
  • published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (2015)
  • Roar Score: 4/5

The Whisper is an absolutely beautiful ode to creativity, discovery, and wonder. The story begins with a little girl borrowing a “magical book of stories” from her teacher. On the way home, all of the words spill out of the book, leaving her with a book full of gorgeous illustrations…but no text.

After an initial bout of disappointment, she’s prompted to let her imagination free and create her own stories, for “there are never any rules, rights, or wrongs in imagining – imagining just is.”

Indeed, any fan of David Wiesner, Aaron Becker, or Jerry Pinkney’s The Lion and the Mouse knows just how powerful wordless picture books can be.

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