Sometimes I read a picture book and the topic or underlying theme is what draws me in. Sometimes it's the vibrant illustrations. The book I selected this week has sweet illustrations, and a nice theme, but it was the story itself that gave me a serious case of book love. Helen has a second book in this series coming out in July (2014) that I will want to take a look at!
Title: How to Hide a Lion
Author/Illustrator: Helen Stephens
Publisher: Henry Holt & Company, 2012
Intended Audience: 0-5
Themes: Prejudice, Friendship
One hot day, a lion strolled into town to buy a hat.
But the townspeople were scared of lions, so the lion ran away.
Synopsis: The townspeople are frightened by a lion that comes into town looking
for a hat. Luckily, when the lion runs off to hide he finds a little
girl called Iris who isn't afraid of lions. Despite her parents' cluelessness, their luck eventually runs out when Mom stumbles upon the sleeping feline. What's a nice lion to do?
Why I liked this book:
Except for the fact that the lion doesn't eat people, he looks like a
wild lion. He doesn't wear clothes or talk. And despite the fact that he
is never named in the text and we never see him communicate with humans
(we're told that he asks for a hat and he interacts with Iris without
dialogue), his personality shines through. He lets Iris comb the leaves
out of his mane, he bounces with her on her bed. This book made me
believe that everyone could interact with lions like Kevin Richardson
aka "the lion whisperer." (see the first three minutes of the embedded video. I think Joanna Marple shared this with me first and I have watched it multiple times!) A magical feeling
reminiscent of Robert the Rose Horse (who wore clothes) -- almost so much
so that I wondered if the remarkably similar ending was in homage.
Although the book starts with the lion, it ends with Iris and cements
the logical innocence of their relationship. I also love that Iris never changes clothes. Silly? Maybe. But it makes sense to me.
Resources: You can page through many of the spreads and read the text on the Publisher's webpage for the book. Read an interview with author/illustrator Helen Stephens about her book.
Lion crafts are popular! Prepare to get your mind boggled by the lion crafts on Pinterest. There are several youtube videos on making lion crafts, too, too much to embed here. Just google youtube lion crafts for kids and there they are! The D L T K's crafts for kids has a super easy paper plate lion. Danielle's Place has a slightly more complex paper plate lion as well as 3-D lions made with styrofoam cups, stuffed lions, paper bag lions--you get the idea. There's a bunch!
Flickr has a vintage paper lion doll with clothes to put on! The image is copyright reserved and the owner didn't respond to my request to get permission to post it here, but you can search the term vintage paper lion doll to see it. It is absolutely adorable!
Talk about the differences between wild and domestic animals.
Visit a zoo.
Talk about what it means to have an open mind. Most kids this age do! Perhaps it's the adults (as in the story) who let experience teach us too much.
Play hide and go seek.
This review is part of PPBF (perfect
picture book Friday) where bloggers share great picture books at Susanna Leonard Hill's site. Along
with tons of writing wisdom, she keeps an ever-growing list of Perfect
Picture Books. #PPBF
Thanks for visiting! Is there an animal you would like to hide in your house?
I'm fond of lemurs and otters, but I'm content to let them live in the wild.