A hungry lion finds something to eat, with the help of several smaller animals.
A red-maned lion poses regally with a bat, penguin, turtle, mouse, hen, frog, koala, sheep, kitten, two pigs, and two rabbits. All smile, a bit blankly. As for the lion himself, he looks calm and possibly hungry, or maybe that is just a look of sly anticipation. On the page turn, something is different. The story begins again, with the same words as at first (“Once upon a time there was a hungry lion…”), though with fewer animals. Turn the page, and “Wait a second.” Here is the hungry lion again but only four animals. Where could the others have gone? Cummins’ perfect conversation starter gets even better with multiple readings. Rich language and a playful use of typeface complement the simply outlined, goofily appealing (but not sentimental), softly colored creatures. A young listener may have an answer for the disappearance of those animals. Wonderfully, and darkly hilariously, that answer will be correct in just a few pages—but not right away. Multiple surprises, including a dance party, cake (“four-tiered…with buttercream frosting”), and a new “really ravenous” guest combine to leave only the turtle with something to eat.
Silly and witty: serve to slightly older children who are ready for a good dose of subversively hearty laughter. (Picture book. 4-7)