Being a lion demands hard work.
“It’s not easy getting your Lion Diploma. I know. I took lessons.” Slipping into a lion costume, one eager, white human novice appeals to an expert—a lion who knows all seven steps necessary to becoming a lion. Before the lessons can commence, however, lion and cub must warm up. Blending sparse text with hilarious images, Agee mines a lot of humor during the ensuing workout montage, which includes yogalike poses (“Upward Lion,” “Flying Lion”) and a liberating shake of the mane. And thus, the hard work begins. As the lion helps the cub to look fierce, roar, and prowl around like a proud, dignified feline, the cub finds it difficult to measure up. “The lion checked my scores. ‘This is not very promising.’ ” Comical details pepper each picture, whether in the background (for example, a certificate from Harvard School of Claw) or through the expressive faces of the characters. Bold lines and washed-out colors offer support, making sure each scene complements the gentle wit. Lessons unfurl in a good-natured breeze. Step No. 7 in the becoming-a-lion process, “Looking Out for Your Friends,” tests the cub on everything learned thus far. Luckily, this student surpasses all expectations.
A jubilant romp fit for a lion. (Picture book. 4-8)