A lion named Monty is so proud of his mane that he nearly causes disaster for himself and his little meerkat friends.
A charming double-page spread shows Monty relaxing on his back and happily fiddling with a lock of his autumn-hued tresses with one padded paw. The large-print text reads, “Meet Monty, King of the Jungle. Monty loves his long, curly, beautiful mane. No one else has a mane quite like his. Monty thinks it’s magnificent.” The next few pages show Monty allowing about a dozen tiny meerkats to play in and around his mane, until the mane becomes “dirty and matted!” In an especially amusing sequence, the meerkats try to make amends by braiding Monty’s mane and decorating it with feathers, to no avail. As he stalks off to the watering hole, one little meerkat says timidly, “Remember to be careful of the….” Of what? Of the “little creature” in the water who expresses admiration for Monty’s mane and invites the lion to “come a little closer”? The suspense builds to a “SNAP!” that readers will anticipate, as the concealed crocodile opens its scary but comical pointy-toothed jaw. Little ones will enjoy the animated scenes, the threatening but ineffectual crocodile, and a vertical two-page spread that deliciously illustrates the lion’s mighty, capitalized “ROARS!” The colorful illustrations are enhanced by tiny scraps of newsprint and maps.
The tried-and-true fable about curbing vanity and appreciating friends enjoys a fresh touch with these ebullient African animals. (Picture book. 2-5)