The Day Leo Said I HATE YOU!

Book review by
Patricia Tauzer, Common Sense Media
The Day Leo Said I HATE YOU! Book Poster Image
Touching lesson for kids -- and their parents!

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Kids say

age 2+
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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Positive Messages

When Leo blows up at his mom, she is firm but understanding. Not saying "I hate you!" is treated as another lesson to be learned rather than something that needs to be punished.

Violence & Scariness
Language

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this book is all about a child's growing frustration, the outburst that ensues, and a mother's firm but gentle response. Feelings, even the negative ones, are acknowledged and treated respectfully.

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Kid, 9 years old December 29, 2009

What's the story?

It seems to Leo that his mother has been saying \"no\" all day long. When he finally has an outburst and yells: \"I HATE YOU!\" things come to a head. Leo is as surprised at himself as his mother is, and together Mom and son work it through and come to a very touching understanding.

Is it any good?

I HATE YOU -- those are three shocking words, and most readers will know just how Leo felt when he let them fly out of his mouth and into the room toward his mom. Of course, because of the way the story builds, they will understand just what led up to that fateful moment. They will also understand how his mom feels, and be comforted by the resolution in the end.

Once again, author Robie H. Harris has captured complex, and very natural, normal feelings, in a thoughtful, slightly humorous and masterful way. And Molly Bang's brightly explosive illustrations resonate brilliantly with each nuance of the book's emotional tone. The gentle lessons here are for both kids and their parents. And they are all about how we act toward each other, especially those we love and what we do when we get angry. Most important to the story is the way Leo's mother reacts. After all, she is the adult. Naturally, she shows her shock and displeasure, but she does not punish; she teaches. And, happily, everyone grows in the process.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why Leo yelled, "I hate you!" to his mom. What happened before that? What led to his final outburst? How do you feel when people say "no" to you? Could Leo's Mom, or Leo himself, have done anything differently? How would that have helped? Have you ever felt like Leo did? How did you act? Do you see a difference between saying you hate broccoli and saying you hate another person? How did Leo feel after he told his mother he hated her? How did his mom feel? How did they solve the problem? What did each of them learn?

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