cover image Hilary and the Lions

Hilary and the Lions

Frank DeSaix. Farrar Straus Giroux, $15 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-374-33237-2

When Hilary becomes separated from her parents during a visit to New York City, she climbs the steps of the Public Library. She is startled to discover that the lions that guard the steps there have come to life--as they do for one night each year. They take Hilary on a glorious nighttime tour of the city before returning her to her hotel. This is a gentle fantasy with few surprises, but it unfolds with a quiet, insistent power. The illustrations--realistic scenes painted with a soft, luminescent touch--capture all the magic and mystery of a sleeping city. The text is straightforward and for the most part understated, with occasional gems of perception sparkling throughout. A particularly clever point is the notion that the Brooklyn Bridge, humming away like a beehive, is a living thing--like us; like everything. This subtle but profound observation gives the tale an overreaching, universal meaning and appeal. Ages 5-8. (Oct.)