April 19, 2012

Christian, The Hugging Lion by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell, illustrated by Amy June Bates

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , at 1:16 am by suebe2

Christian, The Hugging Lion
by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell,
illustrated by Amy June Bates
Simon and Schuster
AR 3.6

When Ace and John went to Harrods to see what the amazing department store had for sale, they got a surprise.  Sitting in a cage beneath a flowering tree was a small lion cub.  Wanting to get the cub out of the cage, the two bought him and took him home.

Christian took to his new home, sitting on the sofa between the two men, watching birds through the window and chasing his toys under the furniture.

He also did something that wild lions never do — he would put his paws on Ace or John’s shoulders and give a big hug.

They took him for walks, they took him to play ball in the churchyard and they even took him to the local pub — where he would hug his fellow patrons.  They even took him on sea side picnics.

After they had had Christian for about a year, things weren’t quite as comfortable.  Christian, after all, still wanted to cuddle on the sofa but he was a much bigger bundle to cuddle.  They debated getting a bigger apartment and maybe a bigger sofa.  They even considered the zoo, but then they came to a difficult decision.  Lions belong in the wild.

In Kenya, they found someone who would introduce Christian to life in the wild.

Back in London, Ace and John did all of the things that they used to do with Christian.  A year later, they called to see how he was doing.  Very well.  Would it be okay to visit?  They were told that he had cubs of his own and probably wouldn’t remember them.   They decided to make the trip anyway.

Bates watercolor, gauche and colored pencil illustrations show not only the joy of love in unexpected places but also the golden wonder of the African savannah.  Lines and colors are soft and there is wonder in every page.

Share this book one on one or in story time.  It is definitely one that your readers will want to discuss.

Check out the video below to learn more about Christian and the reunion.


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