When I introduced our lion theme earlier this month, I promised to report back with our favorite lion books. Be sure to visit your local library if you want to check out some of these fun lion tales!
Tawny Scrawny Lion by Kathryn Jackson - If you can get past the illogical biology of a lion chasing kangaroos and rabbits who eat fish, this classic Little Golden Book is a cute, though ridiculous, story. Language that describes the lion looking "fat as butter, sleek as satin, and jolly as all get out" lends an amusingly dated charm to the book.
The Happy Lion by Louise Fatio - This 50 year old classic is my favorite of the lion fiction books that we read. The Happy Lion lives in a French zoo and enjoys visits from friends who say, "Bonjour, Happy Lion!" My library system only had this book by author Louise Fatio, but there are several sequels available through Amazon.
Roar!: A Noisy Counting Book by Pamela Duncan Edwards - While I wouldn't exactly classify it as high-quality literature, Hayden frequently requested this brightly illustrated counting rhyme about a lion cub who goes in search of playmates.
Andy and the Lion by James Daugherty - Another book that has stood the test of time, this retelling of Androcles and the Lion has a simple message about the power of kindness. The boys enjoyed the fact that Andy happens to carry a pair of pliers in his overalls, which he uses to remove a thorn from a lion's paw. My personal irritation with this book: the text is in all caps, and sentences span across pages, leaving little time to contemplate the illustrations unless the reader pauses at random times in the middle of a sentence.
Usborne's Daniel and the Lions by Heather Amery - Like many Usborne books, this Bible story can be read as a condensed book with the lines at the top of the page, or a more complete story by including the lines at the bottom of the page. With the possible exception of the lion's den illustration, it stays true to the Biblical account of Daniel in the lion's den.
The Story of Daniel in the Lions' Den by Michael McCarthy - This retelling offers warm watercolor and colored pencil illustrations. Even more impressive, the thorough account of Daniel's life is told completely in verse.
The Lion and the Little Red Bird by Elisa Kleven - Although the thoughtful, quiet lion bears little resemblance to the actual king of beasts, this unique story has a whimsical charm and captivating illustrations.
St. Jerome and the Lion by Margaret Hodges - This well-crafted retelling of a monk named Jerome and his tame lion has a subtle message about judgement and justice. Though the lion does not talk, his human-like actions and emotions are vividly portrayed through the words and illustrations. The lengthy text and darker, realistic paintings that illustrate the opposite pages make this book best suited for reading out loud to children over age 4.
The Life Cycle of a Lion by Bobbie Kalman - Of the several nonfiction books we borrowed, this one was our favorite thanks to its colorful, glossy pages and suitable amount of text. Donny really enjoyed listening to the accompanying CD and turning the pages at just the right time. Older children could participate in the "quick quiz" that asks questions to about the material that is being read.
And of course, there is the account of Daniel in the Bible, along with several verses that mention lions, including this wonderful reminder of God's provision:
The lions may grow weak and hungry,
but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.
It is so true! We learned the details of how lions catch their prey (and that they succeed in only three out of every ten hunts), and I do not envy their lifestyle...even if they do spend 20 hours a day lounging! How thankful I am that our God is faithful to those who fear Him. He fills us with such good things!