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Leo learns family secrets while rehearsing a play.

What parents need to know

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that there is little objectionable here, and much of real value -- it's a book that can cause children to look at those around them with new vision and empathy.

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What's the story?

Called "Fog Boy" by his family for his habit of spacing out while daydreaming, Leo is not thrilled to get the role of the Crone in his class production of "Rumpopo's Porch." But an odd direction from his teacher -- "Try to imagine what [the characters] were like when they were young." -- gets him thinking about everyone around him. At around the same time he finds a journal his father kept when he was thirteen.

And so Leo thinks, and wonders, and dreams ... about the way his father used to be happy, and how his young self seems almost unrecognizable next to the man today. About his friend Ruby, who once had a younger brother. About the mysterious Rosario, whom no one will discuss. About how he himself will someday be different from the boy he is today. And in doing so Leo the Fog Boy begins to wake up to the world, and to gain a new and deeper understanding of those around him.

Also includes the complete script for the play, "Rumpopo's Porch."

Is it any good?


It seems as though author Creech wasn't quite sure which direction she wanted to go, and this is reflected in the book's style -- sometimes it's written like a play, and sometimes it isn't. It's really two books. One is a delightful, lovely, wise, poignant story of growing up that can help children to a deeper understanding of themselves and those around them. It contains a view of adults that children rarely think of for themselves, and that is just as rarely portrayed in children's books: people in the process of growing and changing, just like children, who weren't always the way they are now, and who have reasons and experiences behind who they have become. It's all about the backstory.

The other is a fairly lame attempt at comedy. One day his brother is injured in football, the next day his sister is injured in soccer, the next day his little brother is injured in ... a choir performance. Ha, ha. None of this seems to have any point. Leo is supposed to be 12, but you would never guess it from his behavior: His foggy innocence makes him seem half that, and his developmental discoveries seem more appropriate to a 9-year-old. But fortunately these sections of the book don't last long, and then it's back to the good stuff, which is very good indeed.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the book's overall theme and the way the author develops the story. How is the overall theme -- examining the ways in which people become who they are -- carried throughout the story as well as the play in which the characters perform? How do the characters learn to think about the backstory?

Book details

Author:Sharon Creech
Genre:Family Life
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:HarperCollins Children's Books
Publication date:September 25, 2005
Number of pages:211

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 13 years old Written bynicraposo October 7, 2009

Encore, Bravo, Replay!

ABSOLUTELY LOVE THE BOOK! It's got a great story line and a great set up too. It keeps the kids begging for more because Creech switches from topic to topic between chapters. So like Chapter 3 is about family and Chapter 4 is about the play and Chapter 5 is about Leo's dad. She never talks about one thing constantly. The only problem is that there are some parts that younger children might feel uncomfortable reading... like the "life book" part where some kids learn how and when they will die. Also, there is one mention of "gay".
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Kid, 11 years old March 10, 2014

Funny book by Sharon Creech

Sure, I hated Walk Two Moons, but this book is fantastic! If any book by Mrs.Creech should have gotten a Newbery, it's this one! Leo fins a old diary in the attic of his house that's a autobiography of his father at age 13. Leo reads it,and finds out more about his father. Another plot is how Leo tries out for the school play and gets the part of ''Old Crone.'' Other issues happen in the funny,inspiring,underappreciated book by Sharon Creech. Who says Walk Two Moons has to get all the fame?I'm sure W2M is a great book, but I've just had some bad experiences with it. I had to read W2M in 5th grade,and it was just too gory.Anyway,Replay is not as appreciated as W2M. This book is funny,and inspiring. Content is very clean.Leo daydreams that kids will get a life story that tells them how they will die,as well as their future.Leo's aunt runs away,and Leo's friend's brother died.One use of ''gay'', but not in a mean or cruel way.2 thumbs up for Replay!
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Kid, 12 years old April 16, 2012

Opnion from a younger age

Hi,I'm twelve years old and i got chose this book not really knowing about it when i asked my teacher what it was about he told me he heard it was about a boy doing a movie, but trust me it's nothing close to that! This book was really touching to me and I don't really know why but something...i dont know what but it was just really touching and i can't explain it :) This book also had its funny moments which i can't get out of my head :D


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