A blustering, self-infatuated lion takes his lumps and gains a crack at redemption in Yaccarino's (An Octopus Followed
Me Home, 1997, etc.) latest offering.
The Lord of the Jungle is busy lording over it all: the monkeys fan him, the elephants provide shade, the leopards fetch
his food, and the gorillas tend to his mane—or else he will eat them. Of course, as Yaccarino dryly summarizes, "The animals
couldn't stand him one bit." One day a man is spied strolling through the jungle. The lion attacks, but is disarmed when the
fellow says he can make him a big star. The lion obviously doesn't recognize the plaid jacket and shades as the mark of a
shyster, because in no time at all, the lion is being exploited and demeaned as a circus act. Until, that is, he eats the man and
makes his getaway. Back to the jungle he hurries, fully intending to take up his place of honor, but instead finds the other
animals being locked into cages for shipment. The animals are not keen on the lion's reappearance (their words sting the lion),
but they are unwitting about the future and what the cages represent. It falls upon our hero to work the oldest circus trick in
the book, liberate the animals, and then rein in his arrogance. (They don't call it a "pride" of lions for nothing.) The droll story
comes with a toothsome accompaniment of Yaccarino's retro art, with its edge of goofiness and deep-dish color. (Picture book.