When Lions Roar

Robie H. Harris, illus. by Chris Raschka. Scholastic/Orchard, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-545-11283-3
Expertly attuned to everyday situations that frighten children, this concise book depicts an escalation of noises, followed by a period of decompression and calm resolution. On a family’s zoo outing, a boy covers his ears, “When lions roar! When monkeys screech!” Walking next to his mother, whose blue umbrella surrounds her head like a halo of melancholy, the boy shrinks from a thunderstorm, siren, and barking dog. Most unsettling, the boy recoils, “When daddies yell! When mommies holler!” The boy quivers at the sensation that “The scary is near!” He crouches, closes his eyes, and says, “Scary! Go away!” Harris (Who Has What?) presents anxiety and its aftermath in compact sentences, and Caldecott Medalist Raschka (A Ball for Daisy) pictures the boy gradually unfolding and re-engaging with a sunnier world where “A flower blooms. An ant crawls by.... A mommy sings... A daddy dances.” Sensitive children (and temperamental adults) will recognize themselves in this portrait of a boy taking a break from overwhelming stimuli. Harris and Raschka present practical strategies for stepping back from “the scary.” Ages 3–5. Illustrator’s agent: Brenda Bowen, Sanford G. Greenburger Associates. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/19/2013
Release date: 09/24/2013
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