Leo and Julio


61 pages
ISBN 0-88780-478-0
DDC jC843'.54





Illustrations by Philippe Brochard
Translated by Sarah Cummins

Nikki Tate-Stratton writes novels for preteens; her latest books are
Jessa Be Nimble, Rebel Be Quick; Raven’s Revenge; and Tarragon Island.


This chapter book for emerging readers is a story of friendship between
Leo and Julio. The biggest challenge Leo faces in nurturing his
friendship with Julio is that Julio just happens to be a young vampire
who lives at the local cemetery with his family. One evening, when
Leo’s parents are out, the boys decide it would be safe for Julio to
come over for a visit. When Butch, the local bully, unexpectedly shows
up, he nearly ruins the boys’ evening. Then things go from bad to
worse when the boys lose track of the time (Leo shows Julio some videos
of a sunrise, a sight Julio has never seen before), and they don’t
notice Leo’s parents returning home. Julio winds up hidden in a closet
and is stranded until the next day when Leo (and his disbelieving
parents) figure out a way to get him safely back to the cemetery.

Full of misunderstandings, tension, and drama, this is a great hi-lo
book for slightly older children still having some trouble reading
independently. Though the font is large and the word count low, the
humor and storyline in this First Novel is best suited to nine year
olds. A few black-and-white cartoonlike drawings sprinkled throughout
help make the text even more accessible. Good dialogue, tight pacing, a
slightly whacky concept, and a strong narrative voice result in an
entertaining book. Highly recommended.


Leblanc, Louise., “Leo and Julio,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 15, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/18453.