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Reviewed by Sarah Stuart for Readers' Favorite
Silly Leo by Angela Padilla is a picture book, which makes it very attractive to children between the ages of five and nine, but it also has an extensive vocabulary. Bought for a five-year-old who may need quite a lot of help reading it, Silly Leo is likely to become a favourite book and one that will educate as the years pass. Leo is a young harbour seal who finds a postcard with a picture of the Golden Gate Bridge, and he is so entranced that he decides to swim to San Francisco and see it. He asks the advice of other seals who say his place is in the harbour and call him Silly Leo. Leo still ventures forth. What dangers will he encounter alone? Will he reach California and make his dream come true?
Angela Padilla has been extremely clever, making her young adventurer a seal. A child couldn’t undertake this journey. Parents… school… money… a passport… the problems are insurmountable, but Leo really could swim all the way across the Pacific Ocean, and the danger he faces actually exists. The child reader is free to travel on this adventure with Leo without the need for magic. I loved this book for its beautiful pictures, and for its capacity to teach. I can see it being very popular in schools, and I recommend it to parents. It’s suitable for English speakers anywhere in the world, and it ends with “Fun Facts” about Harbour Seals. Silly Leo by Angela Padilla is a brilliant book, a truly five-star story.