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donnaodonnellfigurski.com - Leo Said I HATE YOU

The Day Leo Said I Hate You!
Written by Robie Harris
Illustrated by Molly Bang

Publisher: Little, Brown Young Readers
ISBN-10: 0316065803
Ages: 4 to 8

Review and Lessons Plans by
Donna O'Donnell Figurski

As a kid I hated when my mom said, “NO!” “Can I go outside to play?” I’d ask. “No!” she’d reply. “Can I stay up to watch King Kong on the late night movie?” Again, “No!” she’d answer.  “Can I have ice cream? Please! Please! Please!”  “No! No! No!” That was always her answer. Why did she always have to say, “NO?”

I remember thinking when I grow up and have a little girl or a little boy, I will never, ever, ever tell them, “NO!” Well, I did have a girl and a boy, too, and . . . it didn’t take long to break that promise. When my daughter wanted to invite every one of her twenty-four classmates to her birthday celebration, I had to say, “NO! Didn’t I?” And when my son wanted to keep the stray field mouse he found, in a five-gallon fish aquarium on the kitchen counter. I had to say, “No!” again. (To tell the truth, though, I did let him keep it for about a week before we transferred it to the other side of the reservoir.) I knew my kids hated when I said, “No!” But what’s a mother to do?

It’s no wonder Leo’s mom said, “No!” She didn’t want him to feed string beans to the goldfish or squeeze toothpaste down the toilet or draw on his bedroom wall. What mom would? She had to say, “NO!” And, of course, I’m not surprised that that made Leo mad. That’s the way kids are.

The Day Leo Said, I HATE YOU! by Robie H. Harris and illustrated by Molly Bang rings true for both kids and their parents . . . who, by the way, were once kids, too. I’m sure memory lane will open, as parents read this book to their children and remember some of their silly requests, which were, of course, denied by their parents.

My little girl has children of her own and now she says, “No!” And I bet that when her daughters have their children, they will, too. It’s a never-ending cycle.

This review can also be seen on: SmartWriters
FROM the MOUTHS of KIDDLE CRITers: a critique group
“Leo’s mom kept saying, ‘NO,’” said Mikaela.

“His mom had a reason to say No! No! No!” said Brayden.

“The things Leo was doing were really things he shouldn’t do,” explained Timmy.

Danae nodded. “He dropped toothpaste into the toilet,” she said.

“He danced around like a monkey,” said Brayden.

“On the table,” said Rena her eyes opening wide. “I would be grounded for a week.”

“He rolled tomatoes on the floor, too” said Brayden. “If my mom saw me rolling tomatoes across the floor ….” He shook his head without finishing.

“Normally you wouldn’t see people rolling tomatoes,” complained Mikaela. “That was crazy.”

“But Leo didn’t like it when his mom said,  ‘No,’” said Rena.

“She has to say it to control what he is doing,” said Mikaela.

“He doesn’t like the word, ‘No’ because he wants things to be his way,” said Timmy. “He wants to do what he wants to do. In the real world you can’t do that all the time,” he continued. “Things aren’t always your way.”

“Yeah, you’re not the king of the world,” said Brayden. “Your parents are the kings of you.”

“Then one day Leo told his mom that he hated her. That made her feel really bad,” said Abby.

“Leo did that because he was so angry with his mom,” said Brayden. “No! No! No! No! No! Why would you want to hear that all the time? Come on!”

“If I said that to my mom, she would get really mad at me and she would probably ground me,” said Callie. “It would hurt her very much.”

“What Callie is trying to say is that it would hurt her mother in her heart,” explained Mikaela.

“Yeah, her heart would break,” said Callie.

“Leo was mad at that point,” said Mikaela.

“He didn’t mean to say it,” said Johnny.

“Yeah,” agreed Mikaela. “He felt bad about it,” she continued, “but he had already said the words.”

Danae nodded. “I agree with Johnny,” she said. “He didn’t really mean it. It just came out of his mouth. He wanted to put it back in his mouth, but he couldn’t.”

“I think Leo just got too angry,” said Johnny.

“Well, that is a strong, powerful, meaningful, bad word,” said Brayden.

“But, he does not hate his mom,” insisted Abby.

“This happened to me once,” said Mark. “I was playing too many video games. When my mom turned the lights out, I got kind of burned … so I said, ‘I hate you.’ I didn’t really mean it, but she felt upset.”

Mikaela had that knowing look in her eyes. “That’s why you should think before you say something,” she warned.

“I think the message is you may feel like you hate someone, but you don’t really hate them,” explained Timmy.

“Then Leo asked his mommy if she hated him,” said Danae.

“His mom said, ‘I can’t hate you. I love you,’” said Rena. “Then I said in my brain, ‘Awww.’”


To Love or to Hate: Language Arts/Health

Hate is a strong word. It can be hurtful if used the wrong way. It can be used as a weapon to inflict pain on others. It’s okay to hate some things. Leo’s mother hated broccoli. I hate the sound of the alarm clock or when I stub my toe or am stuck in traffic. I hate, hate, hate liver. It’s okay to hate some things, but when you say you hate someone . . . it’s not!

After a discussion of “okay” things to hate and to love, have children make a Love/Hate book.

•    Brainstorm things to hate. Record on chart paper.
           eating liver                   
           having sand between my toes
           going to bed                       
•    Brainstorm things to love. Record on chart paper.
           eating ice cream
           going to the beach
           having funny dreams
•    Then have children write a sentence using the following template.
      I hate to __________, but I love to __________.
           I hate to eat liver, but I love to eat ice cream.
           I hate to have sand between my toes, but I love to go to the beach.
           I hate to go to bed, but I love to have funny dreams.
•    Next give each child a pre-made book with three pages. (4.5” x 6”) Use manila    
      paper for the inside pages and construction paper for the covers)
•    After the work has been checked for accuracy, have the children write their choices in
      their books. (One hate/love combination per page)
•    Last, have them illustrate their books.

Talk About It: Language Arts/Health

Leo was angry. He wasn’t getting his way. He was doing inappropriate things. So when his mother said, “NO,” Leo said, “I HATE YOU!” Everyone gets angry sometimes. It’s normal, but knowing how to manage anger can keep you out of a lot of trouble.

Have children think about times and events that have made them angry. Ask them to use “I” statements. After each suggestion, let children talk about the situation and commiserate, offer suggestions, or just blow off steam.

    I felt angry when . . .
    my little sister pulled all the hair out of my favorite doll.
    my best friend wouldn’t play jump rope with me.
    my dad changed his mind about going to the movies.

Then have the children discuss ways that they can overcome their anger.

    punch a punching bag – a pillow will do.
    count to ten – or a hundred – whatever time that allows the anger to lessen.
    talk to with an adult or friend about why they are angry.

(Although I examined these websites and found them to be very helpful, please use them at your own discretion.)

How to Talk to Your Kids About Feelings
Teaching Self-Control
Feelings Preschool Theme
Open Circle Program – Dealing With Traumatic Events


Chrysanthemum written and illustrated by Kevin Henkes
Green Wilma written and illustrated by Tedd Arnold
The Grouchy Ladybug written and illustrated by Eric Carle
My Many Colored Days written and illustrated by Dr. Seuss
The Way I Feel written and illustrated by Janan Cain
When Sophie Gets Angry--Really, Really Angry... written and illustrated by Molly Bang
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