cover image The Lion Inside

The Lion Inside

Rachel Bright, illus. by Jim Field. Scholastic Press, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-545-87350-5

With his bright saucer eyes and huge winglike ears, Mouse looks like he wouldn’t fade into any background. And yet, “He got stepped on and sat on./ He missed out on stuff./ Ignored and forgotten.../ his mouse life was tough.” Watching how the “shouty and proud” Lion dominates, Mouse decides that he needs to add a roar to his repertoire, and he risks being eaten to offer himself up as a pupil to Lion. But Mouse soon discovers that having a big roar isn’t synonymous with having a perfect, fearless life. Bright (the Love Monster books) seems to leave no self-help bromide unturned (“It felt like the scariest thing he could do.../ But if you want things to change, you first have to change you”). But Field (Frog on a Log?) is in top form, offering so many imaginative framings (several spreads contain multiple vignettes, each one a winner) and irreverent characterizations (Lion is a Miles Gloriosus with a mane) that readers will feel carried along by his visual and comedic generosity. Ages 3–5. (May)