Antonie Schneider, Leo’s Dream. Illustrated by Helga Bansch. Translated by Alyson Cole
Published 2006 by Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, 26p
This is a beautiful moral tale for parents and a creative imagination exercise for children.
Leo’s mom and dad are always extremely busy so the little boy spends his time with his sister Alma who takes him to school, to the library, to his piano lessons and even skiing.
Mum never has any time for Leo. She’s always in a hurry – running to catch a train or jump in a taxi. When Mum goes away, she calls Leo and asks, ‘How are you?’
‘Fine’, Leo replies.
‘The sun is shining here’, says Mum.
‘It’s raining here’, says Leo.
But when a day before his birthday Leo is left alone again he gets very angry and brings reproaches to his mum. The illustrations are very eloquent for depicting Leo’s feelings. On a yellow page we see a yellow boy who due to his sadness has become as bitter as a lemon.
Leo goes in his room and begins to draw, turning his family into animals. Mum is a silly goose, dad is a crocodile and his sister becomes a rabbit. Through a creative imagination exercise, Leo brings his family close and enjoys spending time together. The symbolical yellow is replaced with the initial red; Leo feels secure and comfortable again and falls asleep covered by the goose’s white wings.
The next morning, when Leo wakes up, all the animals have disappeared and his family brings him a cake, celebrating his birthday.
Leo’s Dream is a cautionary story about a child’s expectations. More than wanting his family to be close for his birthday, Leo needs them just to be there. Anger is his reaction to frustration and the image at the end of the family together is practically the balance working parents should find. Children always express their feelings so what we have to do is see beyond reactions.
You can find the book here: http://www.bookdepository.com/?a_aid=wordstoworlds