Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Leon the Chameleon

Watt, Mélanie (Author/Illustrator)
Kids Can Press 2003. 32 pages
First published: 2001
ISBN: 9781553375272 (paperback)
Original language: English
Book type: Picture Book

Text Elements:

character, point of view

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

Leon the Chameleon has a problem that is not only embarrassing, but it puts him at risk: instead of being camouflaged in his environment, he turns the complementary colour. On green leaves he turns red; in yellow sand, he turns purple.

The language is direct, with few sentences per page. Every child can relate to Leon’s dilemma: “Sometimes being different made Leon feel lonely. He didn’t join the other little chameleons because he felt he didn’t fit in.”

Images are bold and clear, exemplifying the story’s other theme: primary and secondary colours. Rolling green fields are the backdrop for the little chameleons who go exploring on their own. Leon’s bright red head peeps out as he follows. Fortunately, when the parents cross the desert at sunset, seeking their lost chameleons, they can see Leon—now a bright green dot—from far away.

Young readers will appreciate the message that standing out from the crowd can be both wonderful and uncomfortable. The final image shows a proud Leon glowing yellow in the twilight purple of dusk. Back material offers an engaging lesson on primary, secondary and complementary colours.

  •  Talk about what makes each student unique. How are we the same? How are we different?
  •  

    Create a graphic organizer listing various animals that can be camouflaged by their surroundings. Headings might include: animal, habitat and predators.

  •  

    Make a colour wheel using the pertinent information at the back of the book. Explain to a kindergarten child how the colours can be made using paint or food colouring.

  •  

    Talk about the concept of being different. When are you different from others and when are you the same? How does it feel to be different? Write ideas on a class chart.

  •  Using the information about the colour wheel at the back of the book, create your own colour wheel and explain it.
  •  

    List the variety of emotions expressed in the book. For each one, find the opposite emotion in English. Sort these emotions into positive and negative.

  •  

    Draw and write about a situation where you fit in, and a situation where you feel different. Use an inside-outside circle structure (cooperative learning) to talk about this with your classmates.

  •  

    Compare the character of Leon with the characters of Scaredy Squirrel or Boris. Use a Venn diagram to show how they are the same and how they are different.

  • To construct his/her identity
  • To cooperate with others
  • Health and Well-Being
  • Visual Arts