|Lion Practice by Emma Carlisle|
|Category: For Sharing|
|Reviewer: Ruth Ng|
|Summary: Great for encouraging imaginary play!|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 32||Date: July 2015|
|Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books|
|External links: Author's website|
Laura loves practising at being different kinds of animals. As well as being a kangaroo and an elephant, she's an expert at being a crocodile (much to the other children's dismay in the swimming pool!) But one day she decides that it's time for lion practice, and this is the day when her parents think her imagination has gone just a little too far…
I like read-aloud stories that encourage little children to use their imaginations. This one is particularly appealing since it involves pretending to be animals, and there is that inevitable toddler stage where all you talk about, pretty much, is animals. I also like that we see a little of what Laura is seeing in her mind, since when she jumps like a kangaroo there are a couple of kangaroos hopping along beside her in the picture, and as she flaps like a parrot, scattering grapes along the way, there is a parrot flying by her mum's shoulder, one in the shopping trolley, and one hovering around her head to get the grapes!
Laura's very patient mum suggests Laura might try being something small and quiet, like a mouse, but really she should have guessed that wasn't going to go down well and instead she ends up with Laura the lion! Laura, of course, throws herself thoroughly into being a lion, getting herself a messy mane, walking on all fours, pouncing on people and roaring really, really loud! Unfortunately, all the activity and noise makes Laura's little baby brother cry, and so mum and dad tell her off and to keep the noise down. This is perhaps my favourite part in the book - poor Laura immediately apologises, then goes off to sit on the swing feeling very sad about what's happened. The reason I really like this part is not just because of Laura's immediate apology (as wonderful an example as that is) but because Laura's parents see that she's unhappy and they go out to comfort her and then they have their own suggestion of something they've been practising - a big bear hug! I like that they find a way to meet Laura halfway and join in her game with her. As they hug they call her their favourite little lion, and Laura has the idea that being a little lion, who is a bit quieter than a big one, might be okay, and so she valiantly eats a big dinner (because mum says lions need it!) and then she gets extra bubbles at bath time (because dad says that's what lions need). So Laura is no longer sad, and goes to bed thinking of what kind of animal she might like to be tomorrow.
The illustrations in this story are lovely, very softly drawn with endearing characters. Laura is sweet, full of energy, and all of her animals are charming. I like the little touches in the pictures, such as the sign on the wall of the swimming pool that says 'no crocodiles', or the family pictures hanging on the wall in Laura's house. Even when Laura is sadly swinging outside alone, there's a happy little family of birds, all cosy in their nest next to her. I really like the style of the drawings, and they support the story perfectly.
This is a fun story to share (you can't go wrong with a good loud roar now and then), and although it has lots of energy and noise it ends gently with a smile so it will work at bedtimes for your own noisy little animals!
Further reading suggestion: for more imaginary fun try Convertible Spaceship by Claire Philip and Belinda Gallagher or On Sudden Hill by Linda Sarah and Benji Davies (Illustrator)
You can read more book reviews or buy Lion Practice by Emma Carlisle at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Lion Practice by Emma Carlisle at Amazon.com.
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