There’s no hiding Iris’ love for her pet lion.
There’s little backstory to explain to readers unfamiliar with How To Hide a Lion (2013) how the lion came to live with Iris and her family. But even though “all the townspeople loved him,” Iris’ mother says the big cat can’t accompany them to Auntie Sarah’s house for Christmas because others on the train and in the town they’re visiting would be frightened. Iris is saddened, and her sadness spurs the lion into action: After she and her family leave home, he follows and hides in the overhead luggage rack on the train. No one notices him, in part because he falls asleep on the journey and therefore is quiet. Unfortunately, he sleeps through the moment when Iris’ family gets off the train. When he awakens, he’s far from Auntie Sarah’s house. But the intrepid feline follows the railroad tracks back to a village, where, after humorous encounters with carolers and Santa himself, he is finally reunited with Iris. Stephens’ pictures have a cartoon quality to them, and they amplify the warm, gentle humor of the text as they alternate between vignettes and full bleeds, culminating in a relaxed family scene by the Christmas tree at Auntie Sarah’s. Iris, her family, and Santa all present white.
Move over, reindeer, a new cat’s coming to Christmas. (Picture book. 3-7)