Painting a playscape can be unexpectedly adventurous when you begin with a big yellow lion!
Little Golden Books’ Tawny Scrawny Lion meets Harold and the Purple Crayon in this innovative addition to the “story comes to life” picture-book genre. Martha, a white girl, loves to draw. Her painting of the male lion narrator steps out of the frame and joins her on immersive adventures across an ocean, through a jungle, and into a rollicking water fight—recalling the nonlinearity of children’s imaginary play. As the play accelerates, eventually the tawny playmate goes too far with a climactic SNAP! He meets his match with Martha’s gigantic ROAR! A brief détente leads to reconciliation, and the two set off on a new adventure to a park. Suddenly, the lion leaps away into the sky, and Martha reappears in her room, surrounded by her artwork and paints, to discover a new artistic subject. Playtime has come to an end…or has it? Deceptively simple line drawings complement dramatic paintings and bright splotches stylistically reminiscent of Jackson Pollack. The primary palette—heavy on the yellow—lends to the action and rising tension. Details big and small will leap out to sharp-eyed pre-readers, and simple rhyming couplets offer children opportunities to join in a read-aloud. Doled out one line per double-page spread, they keep the pacing of this extra-long picture book sprightly.
Two creative playmates explore the wonderful ups and downs of imaginary co-play through art. (Picture book. 3-5)