Caldecott Honor artist MacDonald (Alphabatics) makes hay with an unusual format, using die-cut half pages to deliver a snazzy surprise ending. ``Far away in Africa,'' an inquisitive Maasai girl sets out to see the lion that has been attacking the villagers' cattle. Nanta spots indigenous fauna during her trek but, no matter where she looks, ``there was no lion.'' As a series of die-cut partial pages reveals the rolling vistas of a savannah, the reader is unlikely to notice that the pictures on the verso pages are slowly combining to produce an image of a recumbent lion. Foliage on a hilly horizon, for example, becomes the creature's mane; two parrots on the penultimate spread turn out to be the eyes. In the last view, every feature falls into place, and the reader's delight in recognizing the king of the jungle will be deepened by the deadpan text: ``Nanta was thirsty after all that walking. She sat down [against the hill that doubles as the lion's flank] to drink her milk. She never did see the lion. Did you?'' Ages 3-up. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/03/1995 Release date: 04/01/1995 Genre: Children's
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