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How to be a Lion Paperback – 28 Jun 2018
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This witty, resonant picture book is a manual for anyone's life, young or old. (Sunday Times Children's Book of the Week)
Positive role models showing boys how to be a whole person are few and far between these days. This marvellous book triumphs in that essential job. (Kirkus)
Leonard is a lion like no other: he loves poetry and daydreaming and his best friend is a duck. But how will the pair react when their way of life is threatened and the other lions insist Leonard should be fierce? Framed by a glowing palette of burnt yellows and oranges, and infused with humour and warmth, this thought-provoking fable celebrates courage, individuality and the power of words. (The Bookseller)
The story's confiding, narrative voice draws readers in close, while bold, scrabbly ink lines by British author-illustrator Vere (the Max picture books) add life and giggles to Leonard and Marianne's friendship. Vere's fable makes a watertight-and charming-case for ignoring the pressures of conformity. (Publishers Weekly)
Ed Vere just keeps getting better and better! How To Be a Lion features the very sweetest Lion, Leonard: a dreamer rather than a chomper, and, most importantly, a great friend. Just because you're a lion doesn't mean that you have to roar, and, in fact, the world would probably be a better place with less roaring, and more time spent on Leonard's thinking hill. Vere's language is beautifully warm and reassuring, whilst retaining a lovely originality, and is gently reminiscent of Winnie the Pooh. A perfect book for all thinking lions (and all clever ducks, too). (BookTrust)
This is a book that challenges children's assumptions and demonstrates that situations look different from different perspectives. It champions staying true to oneself and sticking to one's principles and by one's friends regardless of what others think. The book also beautifully highlights the power and beauty of the written and spoken word... Children will feel empowered after reading such a deliberate story of unyielding strength and self-awareness. Thoughtful and provocative words to live by. (School Library Journal)
How to be a Lion is beautiful - this should come as no surprise as Ed Vere is always a phenomenal artist, but his words can stand on their own and they form a beautiful meditation on the power of being different, ignoring the herd (in this case the pride) and being true to your beliefs, yourself and your friends; and in knowing that tough decisions do not have to be faced alone...It is usually extremely hard to find a picture book of the year but for me, I think, it may be How to be a Lion! (Teen Librarian)
About the Author
Ed Vere (Author, Illustrator)
Ed Vere is an award-winning and New York Times bestselling writer & illustrator of picture books, including How To Be a Lion and Max the Brave which was named one of The Sunday Times's '100 Modern Children's Classics'.
He studied fine art at Camberwell College of Art and has been writing and illustrating children's books since 1999. Ed's books are published all over the world. He is also a painter, working from his studio in east London, and is represented by galleries in London and Los Angeles.
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The story is obviously one that is very relevant today. In my opinion, the current trend of breaking gender stereotypes has been overly focused on girls. With an overwhelming number of non-fiction books on inspirational women coming out for children, it is nice to see a story like this one for a change. Additionally, the choice of lion as the main character couldn’t have been better. If you ask me to name a ‘fierce’ animal, 9 out of 10 times I would probably say a lion, so I imagine children would too. It’s the fact that this picture book shows boys they can be sensitive and still be a lion that makes this picture book five stars for me.
I’m usually not a huge fan of this type of illustrations, but in this case I think they are perfect. The way Leonard contrasts with the ‘fierce’ lions is depicted clearly in the illustrations (not to mention that Leonard looks absolutely adorable). Moreover, the story is meant for young boys to identify with. Therefore, the fact that the lions look like they have been plucked from a young boy’s imagination will help achieve this.
All in all, How to be a Lion is a much needed, though-provoking picture book with an important lesson for young children, taught by the most lovable lion I’ve ever met.
Thank you to the publisher for gifting me a copy.
Leonard is very much like Ferdinand the Bull (Munro Leaf), a gentle soul who doesn't fit the mould of his species and has no wish to pretend. He's a poet, a philosopher... and finds his soulmate in Marianne the Duck. But the other lions think he should be chomping his new friend up. Can they persuade the other carnivores that there is more than one way to 'be'?
I loved the solution to the problem, how Leonard and Marianne try to show the lions a better way. A perfect poem to teach children which encapsulates both Leonard's situation but also a wider moral one.
Visually wonderful to look at, very bold, and a simple enough story for preschoolers aged 3 and above. It could still be used effectively with school-aged children in circle time/PSHE activities.
With thanks to Netgalley for providing an advance e-copy.
It may sound whimsical but Vere’s thick black outlines convey a ruggedness to the story, and the book publishes at an apt time as society rethinks its stereotypical view of masculinity. It’s a call to not bend to peer pressure, and the tightness of the text brings the message home without sentimentality. A celebration of creativity and words too, and of the benefits of thinking rather than being the loudest voice in the room. Bold oranges and yellows bring to mind the African Savannah, and as always with Vere, there is abundant humour tucked in with the message, wit in both text and picture, and a great understanding of the rhythm of the language.
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. You can see more of my reviews at www dot MinervaReads dot com
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