The title might lead readers to believe—with justification—that this is a blindingly colorful picture book, but it’s all the more surprising because Leon is a chameleon!
Leon ought to be able to blend into earthy environments—green leafy jungle; yellow sandy desert; gray rocky mountains—but he can’t. He’s brilliant Day-Glo orange. Children will relate: Everyone’s had uncomfortable moments when they feel as though they stick out and don’t belong. Playful textual prompts invite them to participate in solving Leon’s dilemma. Whether by whispering encouraging words to Leon, practicing patience (by counting to 10) while Leon crawls across the page, or celebrating Leon’s newfound friendship, readers will be completely invested in Leon’s journey. Opportunities to learn colors and numbers abound. Best of all, empathetic preschoolers will realize through their interactions with Leon that sometimes, we just need a little time to find our people and our places in the world. This brilliant, heartwarming gem helps tots develop intellectually and emotionally, though some discussion might be needed to help concrete thinkers past the implication that simpatico companionship can be found with only those who look just like them.
Interactive reading at its best. (Picture book. 3-5)