How to Hide a Lion by Helen Stephens

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How to Hide a Lion by Helen Stephens
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Genre: For Sharing
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Keith Dudhnath
Reviewed by Keith Dudhnath
Summary: An amusing tale of a young girl hiding a lion in her house. There are nods to classic picture books, and How to Hide a Lion sits comfortably alongside all of them. Highly recommended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 32 Date: August 2012
Publisher: Alison Green Books
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1407121611

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Longlisted for the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal 2013

Lions - dangerous? Pah. They're so gentle that a little could have one as a pet. That's exactly what Iris does when a lion wanders into town. Her parents wouldn't see things as she does, so Iris decides to hide the lion around the house.

I loved How to Hide a Lion. It was beautifully silly in a way that will particularly amuse young book fans. They'll love seeing a child getting one over on her parents, albeit in a gentle and ridiculous manner. The writing style is excellent, with accessible vocabulary, and a good flow to the plot. Helen Stephens' illustrations are fantastic: they have a timeless style that is reminiscent of classic picture books, yet are fresh enough to never feel stuffy.

There is an obvious nod to The Tiger Who Came to Tea by Judith Kerr, as well as hints of other picture books, including Mog the Forgetful Cat, also by Judith Kerr. The gentle nonsense reminded me, in part, of Hilaire Belloc and Edward Lear - fine company indeed!

It's smart, it's funny, it's charming. The illustrations and writing are great. Children and adults alike will enjoy reading How to Hide a Lion time and again. Highly recommended.

For other lion adventures, take a look at ROAR! by Margaret Mayo and Alex Ayliffe, and particularly the excellent Jim, Who Ran Away From His Nurse and Was Eaten By A Lion by Hilaire Belloc and Mini Grey.

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