The Lion Who Stole My Arm

Nicola Davies, illus. by Annabel Wright. Candlewick, $14.99 (96p) ISBN 978-0-7636-6620-0
Davies brings her typical sharp insights into animal behavior and ecological conservation to the story of a boy named Pedru, who lives in a small African village. One evening, Pedru is attacked by a lion. He fends it off, but at a cost: “Pedru hit it again, and for a moment it looked right at him, its golden eyes hot like the sun. Then it snarled and ran away, and Pedru saw that it had taken his arm.” Pedru awakens in the hospital—Wright’s watercolor spot illustration shows the boy’s upper arm wrapped in bandages, with nothing remaining below his elbow. During the book, Pedru wrestles with his newfound difficulty writing and his feelings toward the lion, which range from fear and anger to an eventual understanding. While Pedru’s anxieties and frustrations are slow to recede, Davies emphasizes the positive developments that arise from his tragedy, including his discovery of a drawing talent and introduction to a group of scientists studying the lions. An epilogue underpins the story’s positivity, and an afterword details the dire threats facing lions in the wild. Ages 7–10. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 12/09/2013
Release date: 02/25/2014
Ebook - 89 pages - 978-0-7636-7022-1
Paperback - 92 pages - 978-1-4063-3525-5
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