Hest, Amy and Julia Denos. Letters to Leo.
27 March 2012, Candlewick
Nominated for the Cybils by Linda Baie
Annie is glad that she has a new puppy, and she's bound and determined that he will be a good dog for her father, who is a bit less than thrilled. Since Annie likes to write a lot, she writes advice, poems, etc. to Leo in order to make sense of her fourth grade year. Her teacher is a little mean (and expecting a baby) and not nearly as nice as her teacher last year, Ms. Meadows, whom she hopes will be interested in her father, since her mother has passed away. Her friend Jean-Marie moves to New Jersey, she gets to meet a famous author, and she is worried that her father is lonely despite her and Leo. Annie makes is through the fourth grade and is ready for a summer at the family's cottage... and a visit from Ms. Meadows.
Strengths: Loved the illustrations of Leo-- super cute! Amy's voice is authentic and her concerns will speak to younger students. This is sort of a modern day B is for Betsy.
Weaknesses: The artifice of writing to the dog wears thin.