In Like a Lion Out Like a Lamb

Marion Dane Bauer, illus. by Emily Arnold McCully, Holiday House, $16.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-8234-2238-8
Newbery Honor–author Bauer (On My Honor) and Caldecott-winning artist McCully (Mirette on the High Wire) have fun with a familiar weather simile. A feisty lion is first on the scene: "March comes with a roar./ He rattles your windows/ and scratches at your door. He turns snow to mud,/ then tromps across your floor." The animal taunts a child whose home he muddies (" ‘Were you expecting spring?' he snickers./ ‘Reach for your slickers' ") before stubbornly settling in, a raincloud over his head. The lamb arrives, comically, in the spray of the lion's sneeze amid a shower of flower petals, taking over as the lion curls up in the sun. As the tale closes, the lamb assembles baby animals (and a human infant in a pram) in a verdant meadow, yet splashes of visual humor (the book ends with the lamb sneezing out a summer's worth of insects) save it from becoming too syrupy. The palette of McCully's wispy pen-and-ink and watercolor art brightens as spring blooms, while the cadence and rhyme of Bauer's verse are as variable as March itself. Ages 4–8. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/24/2011
Release date: 02/01/2011
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