Review: How to Hide a Lion by Helen Stephens

how to hide a lion

How to Hide a Lion by Helen Stephens

Oh my, what a charmer of a book!  It is the story of a lion who comes to town to buy a hat.  But the people in town are afraid of him and chase him away.  He runs off to hide in a yard under a dog house where he is discovered by a little girl named Iris.  Iris immediately recognizes that he is a kind lion and invites him into her house.  They did their best to keep him hidden and Iris took good care of him by brushing his mane and putting a bandage on his hurt foot.  They also had a lot of fun, but that’s when they would almost be discovered.  A lion bouncing on a bed makes a lot of noise!  When Iris’ mother discovered the lion, the lion ran off.  He hid with the stone lions in front of the Town Hall.  While he was there, he saw two burglars leaving the Hall.  After the lion saves the day, everyone in town realizes what a kind lion he actually is and present him with… a hat.

Stephens has created a picture book that has a simple appeal.  The growing friendship between the lion and the little girl is done in a very organic and natural way.  Humor is sprinkled throughout as the little girl attempts to hide the lion.  Stephens also makes sure that even though the lion is kind, he is still completely a lion and an animal.  The two main characters are wonderfully different and make for compelling characters especially when paired.

The art in the book reads as vintage with their bright color washes.  The lines of the drawings are done with a light hand and are nicely simple.  This is a book that would be right at home next to Lyle Crocodile.  It reads immediately as a classic and hopefully will become one!

Too clever to be called sweet, this book is warm and friendly.  A perfect book to share with your big cat at home or to curl up like a lion and listen to.  Appropriate for ages 3-5.

Reviewed from copy received from Henry Holt and Co.