A very small lion is made to feel even smaller and more insignificant when the leopard, hippopotamus, and crocodile bully him mercilessly.
They laugh uproariously, stick out their tongues, and taunt him about his size. They tell him that real lions are so large that they are able to touch the moon with their paws. Discouraged, the sad little lion gazes at the moon and realizes the impossibility of such an action. A kind raven comes up with a plan. The raven tells all the animals to come to the hill to see something extraordinary. The moon hangs over the hill and the little lion stretches his paw toward the moon, and, from below, it seems as if his paw is actually touching the moon. Most of the animals cheer, but his tormentors remain silent. The little lion smiles and roars a “great little lion’s roar.” The bullies are relentless, mean-spirited, and rather ignorant, and the little lion is fortunate to have a kind and resourceful friend in the raven. The outcome of Müller’s cautionary tale is satisfying when the bullies get their comeuppance, but there’s little sense that he might go on to explore other, independent solutions in the future. The mostly double-page spreads of computer-generated illustrations depict expressive, sharply defined animals; the little lion has a mane, so he is a diminutive adult rather than a cub. Shadows, body language, and some unexpected touches add depth to the tale.
Charming. (Picture book. 3-7)