The Lion Is No Longer King

Koli Bofane, Author, In Koli Bofane, Author, Lev, Illustrator
Koli Bofane, Author, In Koli Bofane, Author, Lev, Illustrator Annick Press $16.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-55037-418-6
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A tyrannical lion, self-declared king of beasts, is deposed by his bodyguard, a female mongoose, in this forgettable paper-over-board book. Bofane's aimless narrative tells how a snake sneaks into the lion's turf on a day the mongoose decides to take off. When the king threatens punishment, she tries to win over his subjects by declaring she's killed lions and pretending she is tanning the skins of her lion prey (though she's actually weaving ""coconut fibres""). In the tale's facile ending, the king, weakened by nightmares, witnesses the mongoose's coronation, at which she proclaims that the animals are now free (""from now on, the savannah is for all of us!""). Originally published in Belgium, the translation from the French contains a number of awkward sentences (""I'll have to take severe measures and be pitiless!"" exclaims the outwitted lion) and British spellings (e.g., defence, neighbourhood). Lev's minimalist, two-dimensional artwork in full-bleed paintings and spot art of blood red, moss green and mustard yellow, is a pleasing diversion but is not always in sync with the narrative and offers little compensation for Bofane's obvious story. Ages 4-7. (Nov.)
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