The Lion and the Little Red Bird

Elisa Kleven, Author, Elisa Kleven, Illustrator Dutton Books $15.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-525-44898-3
The universal language of art helps bridge the communication gap between a bird and the king of beasts in Kleven's ( Abuela ; Ernst ) latest picture book. When the bird notices the lion's bushy green tail, it piques her curiosity. The appendage, in fact, changes color daily, a phenomenon that exasperates the bird until she becomes privy to the secret: the lion has painted a sweeping mural inside his cave, using his tail as a brush. Though Kleven's vibrant combination of watercolor and mixed-media collage is a tasty visual smorgasbord, her insubstantial story lacks drama. Rather than incite wonder, the bird's questions grow increasingly annoying by mid-story. Children may find a challenge in guessing what color the lion's tail will be, as each consecutive spread provides a hint about the forthcoming transformation. The illustrations' intricate details--nesting birds, leaping frogs, flitting butterflies--add sparkle to scenes already resplendent with bold color and texture. Regrettably, the lustrous art does little to energize a plodding tale. Ages 3-7. (May)
Reviewed on: 05/04/1992
Release date: 05/01/1992
Genre: Children's
Prebound-Other - 32 pages - 978-0-7857-7837-0
Prebound-Sewn - 1 pages - 978-0-606-08561-8
Paperback - 32 pages - 978-0-14-055809-8
Hardcover - 32 pages - 978-7-5502-2218-2
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