Lion's Lunch

Fiona Tierney, Author, Margaret Chamberlain, Illustrator , illus. by Margaret Chamberlain. Scholastic/Chicken House $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-545-17691-0

Not only is the lion Sarah encounters in the jungle big and fierce, he's articulate, too. When she pleads that she was just taking a walk, Lion growls, “Nobody here just walks! We run, sprint, prowl, creep, swing, lumber, slither, swoop, gallop, and scuttle.” When it looks like Sarah might become Lion's main course, she keeps her cool, noting that she does have one talent that the animals don't—drawing. When she draws Lion with jagged fur and bared teeth, the other animals sense an ally, and speak truth to power: “You're bad-tempered and bossy,” they tell him. Tierney's (Peek at the Week at the Zoo ) characterization of Lion founders at this point, as he backs right down and abandons his verbal fireworks for pap. “I don't like the way I look,” he says. “Sarah, I wish I could change.” Chamberlain (Pink! ) renders the jungle animals in digitally colored and enhanced pen and ink, with wiggly, uneven outlines and coy, sideways gazes. They keep Sarah company while she draws and clamor to walk her home, providing a charming antidote to Lion's saccharine conversion. Ages 3–6. (Jan.)

Reviewed on: 12/21/2009
Release date: 01/01/2010
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