Book Review: Leon the Chameleon by Mélanie Watt

by DerdriuMarriner

Leon the Chameleon by Mélanie Watt offers readers delightful adventures into a chameleon’s ever-changing world and memorable examples of complementary, mixed and primary colors.

Blue and red and yellow keep palettes beautiful:

Leon the Chameleon answers parental and pedagogical requests for entertainingly memorable learning tools with which to instruct children in:
• the complementary colors of blue and orange, green and red, and purple and yellow;
• the mixed colors of black from everything, green from blue and yellow, orange from red and yellow, and purple from blue and red;
• the primary colors of blue, red, and yellow; and
• the unmixed color of white from nothing.

The colors-related lesson becomes enjoyably easy since the picture book in question facilitates forays into chameleons and changeable colorations.

Leon's story simultaneously cooperates with second language acquisition since, as is true for all of author/illustrator Mélanie Watt’s creations, the story is available in French.

*****

Website:
http://melaniewatt.blogspot.com/

*****

Feral (wild) Jackson's Chameleon (Trioceros jacksonii): Jackson's three-horned chameleon is native to forests and woodlands of south-central Kenya and northern Tanzania.

In 1972 Jackson's Chameleons were introduced in Hawaii, where they are now deemed an invasive species; they have also been introduced in Florida.
Maui, Maui County, Hawaii
Maui, Maui County, Hawaii

Blue and red like yellow and vice versa

 

Unlike his peers, Leon does not experience easy formative years. Prevailing environmental colors exert no influence on Leon’s body coloration even though all of his peers merge with ambient blues, greens, and yellows. Competitors and predators therefore find it impossible to separate Leon’s colleagues from leafy, sandy, watery hideaways.

Leon contrastingly gets to stand out as:

  • orange blobs in blue waters;
  • purple swabs on yellow mounds indicative of A horizon entisol soils; and
  • red wads on dark or light green foliage.

He has to worry about the high-profile presence which his non-functioning camouflage poses for hungry natural enemies. It nevertheless is helpful that orange, purple, and red tend to warn predators of unpleasant smells, tastes, and textures. 

 

common chameleon or Mediterranean chameleon (Chamaeleo chamaeleon): only chameleon species with native range into Europe

Cyprus, Greece (Aegean Islands, Crete, Chios, Samos), Malta, southern Portugal, and southern Spain comprise European homelands for Mediterranean chameleons.
Chamaeleo chamaeleon walking on a fence in Ofra, northern West Bank, Israel
Chamaeleo chamaeleon walking on a fence in Ofra, northern West Bank, Israel

Blue makes red chameleons purple, yellow chameleons green

 

Leon rarely joins his peers in such favorite team-building activities as camouflage and seek. He knows that like likes like so much that distances must be kept between a different-looking oddball and a like-minded trio. Concern for peers and hope for miracles nevertheless lead him to maintain unobtrusive distances when tracking the three friends.

Tagging along manages to be one of Leon’s best decisions since the three friends’ long walk loops through territory unfamiliar to forest-dwellers. Their parents’ notice the three friends’ absence and organize a search. A green dot in the midst of the setting sun-reddened landscape offers to the parents first hopes for recovery and then realization of happy reunions and safe escorts back home. 

 

Carpet chameleon (Furcifer lateralis), also known as jewel or white-lined chameleon, numbers among Madagascar's endemic chameleons.

female carpet chamelon; Réserve Peyrieras, Moramanga, Alaotra-Mangoro Region, eastern Madagascar; Oct. 8, 2004
female carpet chamelon; Réserve Peyrieras, Moramanga, Alaotra-Mangoro Region, eastern Madagascar; Oct. 8, 2004

Red nudges yellow chameleons into orange color realms

 

Chameleons (Chamaeleonidae family) typically prompt reader and viewer interest because of:

  • climb-friendly set of two front and two rear toes on each of four nimble feet;
  • crested, horned head;
  • domestication-friendly behaviors;
  • extrudable tongues;
  • stereoscopic vision; and
  • swaying gait.

Newbie admirers always question chameleon color responsiveness to:

  • geography;
  • light;
  • predation;
  • rivalry; and
  • temperature.

So Leon the Chameleon regales pre-schoolers to kindergarteners aged 2 to 5 years with culturally enriching, educationally entertaining adventures with body coloration, defensive adaptations, and food chains, thanks to:

  • Kids Can Press;
  • Julia Naimska's design;
  • Paramount Printing Co. Ltd.'s Stone Sans-set text for drawn on-covered, limp-sewn paperback and smyth-sewn casebound hardcover editions;
  • Debbie Rogosin's editorship; and
  • Mélanie Watt's acrylic and black ink artwork and authorship. 

 

"'Leon the Chameleon!' Books for Kids Read Aloud" (5:01)

Uploaded May 4, 2014, by Books for Kids (Read Alouds) to YouTube ~ URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7FgIp5QrZik

Acknowledgment

 

My special thanks to talented artists and photographers/concerned organizations who make their fine images available on the internet.

 

Image Credits

 

Feral (wild) Jackson's Chameleon (Trioceros jacksonii): Jackson's three-horned chameleon is native to forests and woodlands of south-central Kenya and northern Tanzania.
In 1972 Jackson's Chameleons were introduced in Hawaii, where they are now deemed an invasive species; they have also been introduced in Florida.
Maui, Maui County, Hawaii: Rich Torres, Burlingame, Calif. (Movingsaletoday), Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons @ https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Jackson's_Chameleon_2_edit1.jpg

common chameleon or Mediterranean chameleon (Chamaeleo chamaeleon): only chameleon species with native range into Europe
Cyprus, Greece (Aegean Islands, Crete, Chios, Samos), Malta, southern Portugal, and southern Spain comprise European homelands for Mediterranean chameleons.
Chamaeleo chamaeleon walks on a fence in Ofra, northern West Bank, Israel.: יעקב, CC BY SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons @ https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Green76.jpg

Carpet chameleon (Furcifer lateralis), also known as jewel or white-lined chameleon, numbers among Madagascar's endemic chameleons.
female carpet chamelon; Réserve Peyrieras, Moramanga, Alaotra-Mangoro Region, eastern Madagascar; Oct. 8, 2004: Bernard DUPONT from FRANCE, CC BY SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons @ https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Carpet_Chameleon_(Furcifer_lateralis)_female_(7636716522).jpg

"'Leon the Chameleon!' Books for Kids Read Aloud" (5:01)
Uploaded May 4, 2014, by Books for Kids (Read Alouds) to YouTube ~ URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7FgIp5QrZik

"'Léon le Caméléon" (3:48) ~ French children's song about chameleon changing colors; sung by Stéphane Husar
URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mOJljcIfpQQ

 

Sources Consulted: Leon the Chameleon Sells in English and French

 

Watt, Mélanie. 2010. Leon the Chameleon. Toronto, Ontario, Canada; and Tonawanda, NY, U.S.A.: Kids Can Press Ltd. 

 

"Léon le Caméléon" (3:48) ~ French children's song about chameleon changing colors; sung by Stéphane Husar

URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mOJljcIfpQQ
the end which is also the beginning
the end which is also the beginning

Leon the Chameleon by Mélanie Watt ~ available via Amazon

Leon the chameleon has a problem. When the other little chameleons turn green, yellow or blue -- he turns red, purple or orange! Leon doesn't turn the opposite color on purpose. He just can't help it.
Mélanie Watt stories

World Tree: poster available via AllPosters ~ Look closely to find chameleons camouflaged among leaves in a tree

1995 oil on canvas by Tamas Galambo
World Tree, 1995

Me and my purrfectly purrfect Maine coon kittycat, Augusta "Gusty" Sunshine

Gusty and I thank you for reading this article and hope that our product selection interests you; Gusty Gus receives favorite treats from my commissions.
DerdriuMarriner, All Rights Reserved
DerdriuMarriner, All Rights Reserved
Updated: 09/19/2022, DerdriuMarriner
 
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