cover image Sun Flower Lion

Sun Flower Lion

Kevin Henkes. Greenwillow, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-06-286610-3

Simple words and repeating forms draw beginning readers into this iterative volume by Henkes (Summer Song). Its central visual element, a circle with a ruffled edge, could signify the sun, a flower, or a lion with a mane—and here, it’s all three. Divided into six short chapters, the story’s sentences relate the three objects to each other. First, readers meet the sun: “The sun is in the sky./ It is shining./ It is as bright as a flower.” In chapter two, a ruffled circle appears with a stem and leaves; it’s a bloom that “looks like a little lion.” In chapter three, the motif forms the head of a stumpy feline (“He smells the flower./ He warms himself in the sun”) who dreams, wakes, and runs home. Readers see the hill, but not the traveling lion (“Can you see him?/ No, you can’t./ He is running too fast”). Yellow spreads convey warmth and light, while gray, hand-inked blades of grass cover the hill. Signlike artwork and straightforward text fit together as neatly as building blocks in this lighthearted reading exercise. Ages 4–8. [em](Sept.) [/em]