Leopold the Lion
Written by Denise Brennan-Nelson,
Illustrated by Ruth McNally Barshaw
sneakng the lion into their house:
giving him a bath:
sharing a room:
When Jack and Ella come across a friendly--and talented!--lion in their backyard
they are thrilled to take him in as their pet. And they're positive they know
just how to care for their new pet, ignoring Grandpa's cheeky asides.
But soon Leopold the Lion grows despondent and chubby. Even the circus
who lost him won't take him back! Do Jack and Ella know what to do
to get Leopold healthy again? A sweet story with a subtle commentary
on making healthy choices.
What the reviewers say:
Keeping a lion as a pet is never easy. Jack and Ella find a lion in their backyard,
a lion that can perform backflips and somersaults on the trampoline! They,
of course, want to keep him. Sneaking him by their parents is simple
(they are busy, and the role reversal portrayed in their jobs is refreshing).
And although Grandpa seems to sense something is up, he lets them be.
Jack and Ella feed the lion a steady diet of chips and snacks. When they go
to school, they make sure he is occupied with plenty of electronic
games. Unsurprisingly, the once-boisterous lion turns listless and lethargic.
Barshaw shows him tragically slumped on the floor, barely able to lift
one claw to place on the touch-screen of his device. He has no desire
to go outside and play.
Even when his circus past is discovered, Leopold does not want to
perform anymore. Luckily, Jack and Ella (with some help from Grandpa)
realize how wrong they were. Lions (and children, by extension) need
a healthy diet and exercise. The lesson is obvious, but it's delivered with
a light touch.
Details such as the children's pictorial list of "good pets to get"
and a packet of freeze-dried wildebeest ("made with pride")
keep the illustrations lively.
Jack, Ella, and their family are portrayed with dark skin and hair, with
no obvious ethnic markers, allowing for a wide range of identification.
An essential look at the importance of an active lifestyle sneakily disguised
as a fanciful feline tale. (Picture book. 4-7)
-- Kirkus Reviews, July 2015
Age Range: 6 - 8 years
Grade Level: 1 - 3
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press
September 1, 2015
Book size: 10 x 10 inches
Bring home Leopold the Lion from your favorite local indie book store!!
Some of my favorites are:
Book Beat in Oak Park
Schuler Books in Lansing and Grand Rapids areas
Book Bug in Kalamazoo
Flying Pig in Vermont
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