Christian, the Hugging Lion

Overview

When John and Ace found a lion cub for sale at Harrods, they knew that a department store was no place for a lion. They took him home, named him Christian, raised him and loved him—and in the process, Christian became a London celebrity. But when Christian got too big for their apartment, Ace and John knew that it was time to let him go back to Africa, where he belonged. When they went to visit him in Africa, they were in for a wonderful surprise. Christian remembered them!

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Overview

When John and Ace found a lion cub for sale at Harrods, they knew that a department store was no place for a lion. They took him home, named him Christian, raised him and loved him—and in the process, Christian became a London celebrity. But when Christian got too big for their apartment, Ace and John knew that it was time to let him go back to Africa, where he belonged. When they went to visit him in Africa, they were in for a wonderful surprise. Christian remembered them!

This heartwarming book is based on the true story of two men who raised and loved a lion cub—which millions of fans know through the popular YouTube video.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Richardson and Parnell, the writing team behind And Tango Makes Three, turn to another heartwarming real-life animal story in this retelling, the second picture book to star Christian, following 2009's Christian the Lion. In subtly evocative prose, the authors emphasize storytelling as they hit the major plot points of the now familiar story: Ace and John's discovery of the lion cub in a cage at Harrods, Christian's adventures and growing pains in London (“Christian became a very well-behaved little cub. Most of the time”), the eventual delivery of the lion to Kenya, and the trio's climactic reunion when Ace and John return to find Christian grown-up and with cubs of his own. With a dramatic leap, Christian rejoins his friends in a jubilant embrace that fills an entire wordless spread. Playing off the understated text to humorous effect, Bates (Hillary Rodham Clinton: Dreams Taking Flight) contributes balmy watercolor, gouache, and pencil illustrations that highlight Christian's playfulness, as he sprawls out on Ace and John's sofa or gives “clumsy” hugs at the pub. It's a tender and particularly kid-friendly version of Christian's story. Ages 4–8. (Apr.)
From the Publisher
"In subtly evocative prose, the authors emphasize storytelling as they hit the major plot points of the now familiar story...Playing off the understated text to humorous effect, Bates contributes balmy watercolors...that highlights Christina's playfulness...It's a tender and particularly kid-friendly version of Christian's story."—Publishers Weekly

"This book will be a popular choice among the many youngsters who have bonded with their own pets."–School Library Journal

Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Christian, the appealing lion cub on the jacket, is the subject of this amazing and engagingly told true story. Harrod's, the well-known London department store, once promised that you could buy anything you wanted there. And that is where Ace and John spot a lion cub, buy him, and take him home to their apartment. They name him Christian. He goes everywhere with them, all over London, and even to the beach. The friendly cub enjoys hugging everyone. But as Christian grows, Ace and John decide that he would be happier back in Africa. They fly with him to Kenya, where Mr. Adamson offers to teach him how to live back in the wild. Back in London, worried, Ace and John decide to visit him. Adamson warns them that Christian is now a grown lion with cubs, and so may not remember them. But their reunion is both surprising and satisfying. The cuteportrait on the paper jacket only hints at the adult male displaying his roaring majesty across the front-to-back book cover. On double and single pages, naturalistic watercolors, gouache, and pencil drawings effectively describe the behavior of the maturing animal, allowing us to participate in the adventure while anticipating the necessary separation. An author's note details the facts of the story. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3—When Ace and John find a lion cub for sale at a famous English department store, they buy him, take him back to their apartment, and name him Christian. The young men take him for walks, play with him in a churchyard, and go on beach picnics with him. When Christian grows too large for their apartment, his owners fly him to Kenya where Mr. Adamson will teach him—as he has taught other lions—to live in the wild. They learn that Christian has cubs of his own and fly to Kenya to see him one more time. In a series of near-wordless illustrations that capture the joy of the real-life reunion video that appeared on the Internet in 2008, the friends meet again. They spend the night together "cozy and snug and, of course, hugging." An authors' note explains that all events are true, fills in more details, and mentions the now-famous video. Illustrations are done in watercolor, gouache, and pencil. Young readers may want to see actual photographs of the three friends in Anthony "Ace" Bourke and John Rendall'sChristian the Lion (Delacorte, 2009). This book will be a popular choice among the many youngsters who have bonded with their own pets.—Mary Jean Smith, Southside Elementary School, Lebanon, TN
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781416986621
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
  • Publication date: 4/27/2010
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 828,052
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.10 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Peter Parnell is the co-author, with Justin Richardson, of And Tango Makes Three. Peter is a playwright whose plays have been produced at the Public Theater and Playwrights Horizons in New York City, the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles, and the Seattle Repertory Company, among others. His play QED was produced on Broadway. He has written extensively for televison as a producer for both The West Wing and The Guardian; he has also written episodes of Maurice Sendak's series Little Bear. He lives in New York City.

Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell are the authors of the award winning picture book And Tango Makes Three. Richardson is a psychiatrist on the faculty of Columbia and Cornell. Parnell is a playwright whose plays have been produced on and Off-Broadway. They live in New York City with their daughter, Gemma.

Amy June Bates has illustrated many books for children, including That’s What I’d Do and Sweet Dreams by Jewel; Waiting for the Magic by Patricia McLachlan; Hillary Rodham Clinton: Dreams Taking Flight by Kathleen Krull; The Dog Who Belonged to No One by Amy Hest; and You Can Do It! by Tony Dungy. She graduated from Brigham Young University and now lives with her husband and three children in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Visit her at AmyBates.com.

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