Stephens, Helen. 2013. HOW TO HIDE A LION. NY: Henry Holt. ISBN 9780805098341 [Suggested Grade Levels K – 3]
The opening line of this nostalgic picture book sets the stage for trouble: “One hot day, a lion strolled into town to buy a hat.” Predictably, an angry mob chases the lion. He runs away and hides, less predictably, in a child’s play house--which is decidedly too small. A small girl called Iris befriends the lion and hides him. When her parents discover him, he runs away again. Things look bleak, but a foiled bank robbery endears the lion to the entire town which is eager to give the lion anything he wants. His wish takes the story full circle.
The story’s appeal lies in the bond between Iris and her lion. Stephens’ playful water color illustrations bring the details of the unlikely friendship to life. They visit the park, draw pictures, read bedtime stories, and share a bed for sleeping as well as jumping. Children will also appreciate the fact that Iris recognizes, long before the adult characters, that the lion is kind.
Explore the character traits often associated with lions. Help children to recognize those themes in the events of this story and to talk about their own experiences with bravery, strength and courage.
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