cover image How to Be a Lion

How to Be a Lion

Ed Vere. Doubleday, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-525-57805-5

Some people think there’s only one way to be a lion, but Leonard is different. A gentle, Ferdinand-like soul, he’s likely to be found on his “thinking hill,” pondering and making poems. Lions usually devour ducks, but when Leonard meets web-footed Marianne, he asks for help with a poem he’s writing, and the two become close friends, taking long walks and looking at the stars. When bullying lions try to intimidate Leonard into behaving the way other lions do (“Not chomping a duck? You’ve gone too far!”), Leonard and Marianne collaborate on a declaration in verse: “If there must be a must,/ then this we must try.../ Why don’t you, be you.../ And I, will be I.” The story’s confiding, narrative voice draws readers in close, while bold, scrabbly ink lines by British author-illustrator Vere (the Max picture books) add life and giggles to Leonard and Marianne’s friendship. Vere’s fable makes a watertight—and charming—case for ignoring the pressures of conformity. Ages 4–8. [em]Agent: Barry Goldblatt Literary. (June) [/em]