Buzzeo and Wohnoutka (Stay Close to Mama, 2012) pair up again, this time taking a closer look at the loving dynamic between a lion and his mischievous cub on the African savanna.
Papa is “the protector and King” as he roars “a warning…across the plain.” Young Kito (Swahili for “precious gem”) wants to be just like his father; after all, someday he will also be king. Throughout the day he growls, dodges a laughing hyena, attempts to swat flies with “his little golden tail” and waits with instinctual anticipation as the lionesses target a wildebeest on an evening hunt. Always he is at his dad’s side. A playful spread set against all white shows Papa “with a swipe of his huge paw…send[ing] Kito flying through the air, like a stork gliding on the breeze.” A tender nighttime spread of Kito on his father’s back tells of him raking “his paw gently through his papa’s mane.” Children and their parents will appreciate this intimate look at this wild feline pair. Although presented as a charming story about a specific lion cub, the descriptive facts provided about lion prides are accurate and later expanded upon in a note at the book’s end.
The warm and reassuring flow of the text and the dramatic painterly scenes of the African landscape come together for a likable tale just in time for Father’s Day. (Picture book. 3-6)