The Snow Lion by Jim Helmore and Richard Jones

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The Snow Lion by Jim Helmore and Richard Jones

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Buy The Snow Lion by Jim Helmore and Richard Jones at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: For Sharing
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Anne Thompson
Reviewed by Anne Thompson
Summary: A gently reassuring story accompanied by subtle charming illustrations ensures that this picture book has a touch of magic. Highly recommended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 32 Date: September 2017
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Books
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1471162237

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Caro and her mother arrive at their new home in darkness. Once inside, the house is white, bare and empty. Caro wishes that she has someone to play with and feels a little lost and small. Then one day she hears a noise and a gentle voice asking to play. She has a new friend and a very special one. The Snow Lion has appeared as if by magic to help Caro learn how to make friends of her own and maybe find the courage she has been hiding inside.

This is an utterly charming book. At the start of the story when Caro and her mother arrive at the new house the darkness intensifies the feeling of uncertainty that Caro must be feeling about her new home. Although she enjoys exploring the house at first she soon feels overcome with loneliness. But then the Snow Lion arrives and everything changes. As they play together she becomes happier and gradually the lion encourages her to venture outside and play in the park. As the days pass Caro becomes braver and joins a group of children to play together and eventually her mother invites the children into the house to join a painting party and their new home becomes full of colour and laughter. Will Caro still need her Snow Lion? Perhaps she will, but not all the time as she has learned with his help that she has courage of her own to draw on. I loved the last pages and thought it was just perfect but I won’t spoil things by describing them!

What makes this book extra special is the way in which the text and illustrations work together. The darkness of the opening pages as Caro and her mother arrive in the night and then the stark whiteness of the house in the first days help to convey the feelings of the characters so well. When the lion arrives he stands out on a page of warm orange. The Snow Lion himself although kindly and reassuring has a quiet dignity and authority about him too; a little like a wise and thoughtful parent. As Caro grows in confidence the colour spreads through the house and it starts to feel more like a home. There are other subtle touches such as the toy lion clutched in Caro’s hand in one picture and the family cat mirroring the lion on one page too. As Caro plays happily with her friends the Snow Lion quietly disappears and we can just glimpse his tail as he goes upstairs.

This would be a wonderfully reassuring story to share with young children and not only those who are moving house. There are many situations when children can feel worried or scared and this beautiful book provides a gentle reminder that all you need to cope is a bit of kindness, a good friend and sometimes a little bit of courage too.

Thank you to the publishers, Simon and Schuster, for providing this copy for review.

Another lovely picture book that children moving house or living in two different homes may find reassuring is Little Home Bird by Jo Empson

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Buy The Snow Lion by Jim Helmore and Richard Jones at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Snow Lion by Jim Helmore and Richard Jones at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy The Snow Lion by Jim Helmore and Richard Jones at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Snow Lion by Jim Helmore and Richard Jones at Amazon.com.

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