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Leopold, the Liar of Leipzig Hardcover – August 30, 2005


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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

PreSchool-Grade 1–Everyone loves Leopold, who holds court at the Leipzig zoo on Sunday afternoons and tells fantastic tales of faraway places. One day, a learned professor comes to town and gives a lecture on the real places he has been. Everyone is bored and either leaves or falls asleep. The indignant Doctor Morgenfresser shouts, Your Leopold is a liar! and has him hauled off to jail. On trial the man explains that he never claimed any of it actually happened, the people declare him Leopold the Storyteller, and he is released to tell his stories to the children of the village. While Leopold's alliterative tales are mildly entertaining, the moral is heavy-handed. The thickly painted, woodblock-style artwork, which is reminiscent of Chagall's bright colors and angular, slightly floating characters, is interesting and fits the style and location of the story well. Aviram does a nice job of contrasting the scenes of Leopold's imprisonment and trial with his stories by using drab colors for the former and bright jewel tones for the latter. While this artist is one to watch, the story is minimalist in style and, unfortunately, in its impact.–Amy Lilien-Harper, The Ferguson Library, Stamford, CT
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From Booklist

PreS-Gr. 2. What is truth? Is it fact? Is fantasy a lie? This lively picture-book fable considers the power of story. In Leipzig's zoo, Leopold thrills people with his tales of such faraway places as "the great galaxy of Gelato," which is governed by Gertrude the gabby gorilla. But when scientist Doctor Doctor Professor Morgenfresser substitutes boring facts and accuses Leopold of telling lies, the beloved storyteller is arrested. The case is dismissed, however, after Leopold defends his fantasies: "Unless you say that it actually happened, or that you actually saw something--it's only a STORY." Then everyone gathers once more to listen to Leopold's marvelous tales. The silliness, the rhythm of the words, and the magic realism of the brilliantly colored pictures (including images of "parading piglets play[ing] pipes at parties for puppies") affirm what kids know: the exciting truth of imaginative play. Hazel Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins (August 30, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060080752
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060080754
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.2 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,570,869 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Francine Prose is the author of sixteen books of fiction. Her novel A Changed Man won the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, and Blue Angel was a finalist for the National Book Award. Her most recent works of nonfiction include the highly acclaimed Anne Frank: The Book, The Life, The Afterlife, and the New York Times bestseller Reading Like a Writer. A former president of PEN American Center, and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Francine Prose lives in New York City.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Kristin on October 16, 2005
Format: Hardcover
After reading Leopold's stories, I want to explore the world to meet all of the fascinating characters from his "adventures." And I loved the fun, colorful, expressive pictures. Einav Aviram made the town of Leipzig and all of the other characters come to life. I hope she illustrates more stories soon.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Eve on October 19, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This is a lovely book filled with with colorful, fanciful pictures! The story is engaging and has a wonderful message about imagination that is appealing to kids and adults. The author and artist have done an excellent job in creating a new book with the feel and charm of a classic.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By E. Mennemeyer on December 18, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This is just a fun romp of a read, with lively illustrations and lots of alliteration. Leopold tells stories to the crowd gathered at the zoo about far away places. Leopold tells of caterpillar eating cats of Carthaginia, Gertrude the gorilla who reigns in the galaxy of Gelato, and more for years and years, captivating generations. Until Professor Professor Doctor Morgenfresser comes to Leipzig and declares Leopold a liar. A trial is held and Leopold defends himself, explaining that he never said something actually happened, or that he had actually seen something. Leopold claims that he isn't a liar - he is a storyteller. The town cheerfully releases him so that he can continue telling stories and Professor Professor Doctor Morgenfresser leaves town in a huff.

The illustrations in this book are full of color and detail. I especially like that in each "story" a central color is used: red for Carthaginia, green for Gelato, etc. Aviram does an excellent job using illustrations to convey a sense of fun and excitement. This is also a wonderfully fun book to read - not so difficult that your tongue trips over the text, but enough alliteration and repetition that the text flows together. For us, this book started a great conversation about speaking the truth versus using your imagination.

Officially, this book is labeled as 4 years and up. We bought it when our daughter was 3 and she enjoyed it greatly. As a 5 year old reading at a second grade level, she now finds this book somewhat boring and beneath her. However, she loves to read it aloud for her 1 year old brother (who mostly just tries to turn the page). I'd recommend this for the preschool age group.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By C. Dickson on October 26, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I bought this book for my niece, who is just barely 3. I thought she might be a little young for it, but the illustrations really captivated her. She was taken by the penguins, but I'm partial to the giraffes. I look foward to more work by Einav Aviram.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on December 14, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Leopold, The Liar Of Leipzig, Einav Aviram's engaging and lively drawings illustrate the zany tale of the people of Leipzig, who marvel at Leopold's amazing tales about wonders of the world. His far-fetched stories has entertained generations - and everyone believed they were true, until a great scientist and explorer arrives in Leipzig and accuses him of being a liar.
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