by Stephanie Simpson McLellan
illustrated by Dianna Bonder
pb $9.95 CDN / $7.95 U.S. (ISBN: 1-55041-815-7)
Listen to this story HERE
Leon is an old and rather homely frog. Other frogs in the pond are more handsome and can swim faster and leap higher, and Leon is all right with that. But when Leon hears the frog Romeo sing, his heart aches – for Romeo is the greatest singer on the pond. When Romeo opens his mouth, all the pond dwellers are spellbound. Leon’s humble croak cannot compare, and while he is inspired by Romeo’s beautiful voice, he dreams of making such a difference himself.
Leon isn’t going to have wait very long. Something is about to happen that will threaten the pond dwellers and their way of life forever. And to protect them all, Leon will find a talent than no one knew he possessed.
EXCERPT FROM LEON’S SONG:
“But when Leon caught sight of Romeo swimming out from the cattails toward the center of the pond, a sharp ache replaced the old frog’s smile. Romeo was a singer, and there was no other his equal.
“As Romeo breathed a slow, sad song to the still, hot air, the little fishes raised their heads above the pond’s surface and swayed to the gentle beat. The dragonflies hummed in slow rhythms around the lily pads and even the tiny tadpoles swam lazily on the pond’s surface, making idle ripples that caressed the water beetles and the swimming spiders.”
AWARDS / NOMINATIONS:
“. . . Leon’s Song . . . [focuses] in its lyrical way on inner beauty and hidden potential. Stephanie Simpson McLellan, author of The Chicken Cat, uses vibrant descriptions and poetic phrases (“tiny tadpoles blipped crazily along the surface like a million joyous raindrops”) to create a sense of majesty and drama.” – The Quill & Quire . . . Read more …
“The language is one of the things that makes this picture book special. Stephanie Simpson McLellan, who lives in Newmarket, ON, has a gift for finding just the right word.” – CM Magazine . . . Read more …
“Adults will appreciate Simpson McLellan’s use of rich language, and children will be delighted by Bonder’s frogs.” — Victoria Literature Roundtable . . . Read more …
THE STORY BEHIND THE STORY
I really have no idea where this story came from apart from the fact that there are many elderly people in my life that I have loved and respected. I also have great empathy with Leon’s intense desire to make a difference in the world. Like Leon, I think we’re all born for a purpose. I do remember lying in bed one night unable to sleep. A thousand thoughts competed for space and all of a sudden, there was Leon pushing all other thoughts away. I finally got out of bed and wrote the story down. My editor, Ann Featherstone of Fitzhenry & Whiteside, worked very closely with me on this story and her brilliant insight kept Leon hopping!