I hadn't heard of this book until a few years ago, when I came upon it and read a few pages in the bookstore. WOW!!! Although I appreciate Shel Silverstein's other stories and poems, nothing at all is like this one. And, that's a disappointment, because after reading this one to my children, we wanted MORE.
In my kids' schools, the Giving Tree was always considered such a classic, and praised as such. Lafcadio? Never mentioned! How disappointing, and oh, what those students are missing. Lafcadio isn't even in the school's library catalogue!
Lafcadio tells the story of a lion who comes to the city and becomes a gentleman--losing his lionly ways. But, Shel Silverstein tells this story so hilariously, I can barely read it aloud without laughing hysterically. I used to read this to my son, and literally could not get the words out without laughing uncontrollably. This, of course, caused my son to laugh as heartily without even knowing why. . . begging me to stop laughing and to tell him what was so funny. Lafcadio is an experience, that's for sure!
That said, this isn't a completely gentle book. It's probably the only book I've read to the kids that talked about eating people--and, made eating people funny. However, the unexpected quirkiness of the story is also what made it so hilarious. This is really a classic. Your kids will love it and you will love it.