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A LION IS A LION by Polly Dunbar Kirkus Star


by Polly Dunbar ; illustrated by Polly Dunbar

Pub Date: April 24th, 2018
ISBN: 978-0-7636-9731-0
Publisher: Candlewick

Two children must decide how far to trust a dapper lion who insinuates himself into their home.

The initial double-page spread shows an unadorned, stylized male lion glaring out at readers, vivid against the stark white pages. In emphatic black print: “This is a lion. Fierce, isn’t he? Too fierce for you? / Well….” There follow pages of humorous, gently rhyming “what if” questions regarding whether the lion is still a lion if he, for example, wears a hat and carries an umbrella. The ink-and-wash artwork is vivacious, including a wonderful, frameworthy spread of the lion, clad in his blue jacket, joyfully dancing with the two children, both light-skinned, about their house. After the lion—staying for lunch—devours both his greens and the china plate itself, he turns his attention to the children for “pudding” (the English equivalent of “dessert”). A high-alert, reddish background replaces white for the next few pages. Art and text use just the right amount of thrills, chills, and comedy to underscore the importance of saying “No” to threatening behavior—even if it was preceded by seemingly innocent fun. The layout of the book is well-suited to the ebullient art and lighthearted text. From start to finish, the spirits of Dr. Seuss and Maurice Sendak hover happily.

Proudly shelve this near The Cat in the Hat and What Do You Say, Dear? 

(Picture book. 3-6)