How to Hide a Lion

Overview

How does a very small girl hide a very large lion? It’s not easy, but Iris has to do her best, because moms and dads can be funny about having a lion in the house. Luckily, there are lots of good places to hide a lion—behind the shower curtain, in your bed, and even up a tree. But can Iris hide her lion forever?

With Helen Stephens’s timeless art and elegant text, readers will fall in love with Iris and her lion.

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Overview

How does a very small girl hide a very large lion? It’s not easy, but Iris has to do her best, because moms and dads can be funny about having a lion in the house. Luckily, there are lots of good places to hide a lion—behind the shower curtain, in your bed, and even up a tree. But can Iris hide her lion forever?

With Helen Stephens’s timeless art and elegant text, readers will fall in love with Iris and her lion.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
From The Wall Street Journal:

Helen Stephens must surely have had Louise Fatio and Roger Duvoisin's "The Happy Lion" (1954) as distant inspiration for the great cat in "How to Hide a Lion" (Henry Holt, 32 pages, $16.99). The two lions could be brothers, with their long noses, demurely downcast eyes and beautiful manners in the presence of hysterical humans.

Here, as in the Fatio/Duvoisin tale, a civilized lion trots into town and finds to his surprise that people react with panic. In this case, the lion hides—first with a friendly little girl, later between stone lions—until winning everyone over with a spontaneous act of heroism. "I told you he was a kind lion," the little girl says, in this enjoyable picture book for younger readers.

*"As a book with a strong and gentle animal hero and fetching illustrations, this can stand proudly on a shelf with such classics as Crictor, The Story of Ferdinand and, of course, Andy and the Lion." — Kirkus Reviews, starred review

Praise for Fleabag:

* “Cleverly, tenderly, [Stephens] touches on some big emotions for young readers: loneliness, rejection, sadness and fear. Yet it’s her gentle humor and the characters’ innocence, loyalty and love that triumph. When readers reach the last spread . . . they will ask for more, again and again. Just dazzling.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“This down-on-his-luck mutt has cuteness in spades” —Booklist

“The illustrations are bright and happy, picturing an appealing little mutt with fleas flying over his head. He looks like just the right sort of dog for a boy. An enjoyable story for groups or bedtime sharing.” —School Library Journal

“Fine writing, an engaging story and appealing art create a winning picture book. Stephens’ final page shows her sketches, drawn in a shelter, of the original fleabag. Grade: A-” —Cleveland Plain Dealer

“Flynn and his people are not the only lucky, happy people involved in this story, and that is what makes Fleabag a lovable choice.” —Florida Times-Union

Children's Literature - Chelsea Couillard-Smith
When a lion decides to go into town to purchase a hat, he is surprised and hurt by the violent reaction of the villagers. After the frightened townsfolk take up pitchforks and chase him away, he hides in the playhouse of a little girl named Iris (who is not afraid of lions). Capable Iris brushes the lion’s mane, bandages his wounds, and comforts his hurt feelings. The two quickly become playmates, sharing stories and games, and carefully hiding from Iris’s mum and dad. Their happiness is short-lived, however, and soon Iris’s mum’s terrified screams send the lion running for a different hiding place. From his new vantage point, camouflaged between two stone lions near town hall, the lion witnesses a burglary, and by capturing the thieves, ultimately wins over the village. His reward: A hat, of course, and the thanks of an enlightened citizenry. Stephens’ expressive illustrations have a classic feel, and her generous use of white space appropriately focuses reader attention on Iris and the lion and their gentle camaraderie. Her characters portray a wide-range of emotions through subtle changes in expression. In particular, the lion, though silent throughout, is sure to elicit sympathy from young audiences as he visibly transforms from a scared, worried, and hesitant fugitive to a blissfully content and affectionate companion. The well-paced text creates a satisfying narrative arc, and Iris is a winning protagonist, sensible and compassionate and much braver than the grown-ups. A simple story well-told that is sure to charm preschool and early elementary audiences. Reviewer: Chelsea Couillard-Smith; Ages 3 to 6.
School Library Journal
★ 11/01/2013
PreS-Gr 2—Purchasing a hat on a hot day is a perfectly ordinary errand-unless you're a lion. When this particular shopper is chased off the premises by understandably terrified townspeople, he finds refuge in the playhouse of a little girl. Being the brave and practical sort, Iris determines that due to her fugitive's large size, he must be hidden indoors. She combs his mane, tends to a wounded paw, and comforts and conceals him because, as everyone knows, "moms and dads can be funny about having a lion in the house." Readers get the impression that this arrangement could go on indefinitely if it weren't for the fact that lions are difficult to move when sleeping-which they do "a lot." The lion is roused by the shrieks of Iris's surprised mother and is forced to find a new hiding spot masquerading between two stone lions in front of the town hall. His watchful nature, and ability to pin down burglars, ultimately makes him a town hero. He proudly marches in a parade held in his honor and claims his reward: the hat he was searching for in the first place. Bright, cheerful sketches accompany this engaging plot filled with pluck, tenderness, and just a dash of English whimsy. Without the slightest bit of treacle and a great deal of humor, Stephens weaves a story about bravery and kindness that adults and children will reach for again and again.—Jenna Boles, Greene County Public Library, Beavercreek, OH
Kirkus Reviews
★ 2013-09-15
A little girl named Iris proves herself smarter than the grown-ups around her as she secretly cares for a lion she knows to be kind--a lion who eventually saves the town from burglary. All the lion wants as he strolls into town is to purchase a hat, but he soon finds himself fleeing from terrified, broom-and–rolling-pin–armed townspeople (one of whom brandishes a loaf of bread). Iris recognizes his gentleness, but it isn't easy to hide him. And parents "can be funny about having a lion in the house." A series of hilarious pictures, reminiscent of the energetic watercolor art of Ludwig Bemelmans and H.A. Rey, vividly demonstrates that the lion is too big, too fluffy and too heavy for easy camouflage. A magnificent double-page spread of Iris with an open book, leaning against the napping lion, recalls the pet Zeep picture in Dr. Seuss' One Fish Two Fish: Both are pictures of deep contentment. After the lion saves the town, his one request to the grateful citizens takes the story full circle. The pages are sturdy, and the endpapers offer entertaining sketches of Iris and her enormous feline friend. As a book with a strong and gentle animal hero and fetching illustrations, this can stand proudly on a shelf with such classics as Crictor, The Story of Ferdinand and, of course, Andy and the Lion. (Picture book. 3-7)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780805098341
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
  • Publication date: 10/1/2013
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 296,255
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.70 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Helen Stephens likes to draw in a sketchbook every day, and often these sketchbook drawings lead to new picture book ideas. Helen studied illustration at Glasgow School of Art and has worked as a freelance illustrator and as an editorial illustrator. She lives in London.

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