Review: Chloe and the Lion by Mac Barnett

chloe and the lion

Chloe and the Lion by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Adam Rex

You know this book is going to be unique when you get introduced to the author and illustrator before the book begins.  Then you meet Chloe, a little girl, who is the main character in the book.  The story begins and Chloe is collecting loose change that she would use to ride the merry-go-round in the park as many times as she could.  When she headed home, dizzy from the ride, she got lost in the forest.  Then a huge lion jumped out at her!  Except Adam Rex, the illustrator, did not draw a lion.  He thought a dragon would be a much better choice.  Mac Barnett, the author, doesn’t like that idea at all and insists that this is HIS book because he is the author.  The fight goes on from there, until Mac feeds Adam to the lion that a new stand-in illustrator drew for him.  Unfortunately, he doesn’t really like the art of the new illustrator and also finds that he can’t draw well enough himself to fill in for Adam.  What is an author to do?!

I love books that break that fourth wall and take a look at the inner workings of the author/illustrator or involve the audience in an interesting way.  The book’s art and writing are so closely integrated together that it is almost impossible to review them separately.  The tone here is clean and clear until the fight scene where it becomes comically fraught with emotion.  There are running gags, funny comments and lots of humor throughout the story that make it all the more fun to read.

The illustrations are inventive and add real dimension to the book.  There are several elements at play.  There are the figures done in clay that represent the author and illustrator.  There are the flat drawings of Chloe and the lion.  Then there is a stage where the book story takes place.  It’s a wonderful mix of theater, reading, and art.

The silliness doesn’t stop at the end of the book, make sure to check out the author blurb at the back, along with the very short illustrator blurb.  This book will thrill children with its silliness, dynamic illustrations, and its clever look behind the curtain of making a picture book.  Appropriate for ages 5-7.

Reviewed from library copy.

This Week’s Tweets and Pins

Here are the links I shared on my Twitter and Pinterest accounts that you might find interesting:

You can check out my library-related and e-book related social media items on my Sites & Soundbytes blog.

‘Between Shades of Gray’: Discover the book that’s being confused for ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ | Shelf Lif… #yalit

Career soars ever higher for children’s-book creator Peter Sis | Books | The Seattle Times #kidlit #authors

Fox Animation Picks Up Children’s Book ‘Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom’ (Exclusive) – Hollywood Reporter #kidlit

Interview: Veronica Roth on her book ‘Insurgent’ and feminism #yalit

James Dawson’s top 10 books to get you through high school | #yalit

The Ongoing Problem of Race in Y.A. – The Atlantic Wire #yalit

Philippa Gregory, new star of teen fiction – Telegraph #yalit

The Return of ‘Rocket’ #kidlit

Salvador Dalí Illustrates Alice in Wonderland, 1969 | Brain Pickings

Stephen King interviewed by Neil Gaiman

Suzanne Collins: Hunger Games author who found rich pickings in dystopia | Books | The Guardian

Why are so many highly-praised children’s books gloomy? | Children’s books | #kidlit

Writing Teen Fiction or Writing For Teens? by Marcus Sedgwick (guest post) | Writing Teen Novels #yalit