Jim, Who Ran Away from His Nurse, and Was Eaten by a Lion

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A treat for fans of ghastly gore and egregious endings.

“Contains a Dangerous Beast and a Miserable End,” states a warning on the cover. But if you are strong of heart and like your humor a little on the dark side, jump right into the brilliant collaboration of the Edwardian humorist Hilaire Belloc, dead for the past 57 years, and the very much alive Mini Grey. Grey's sly illustrations, clever type designs, amazing lift-the-flaps, and a roaring lion pop-up, not to mention her zoo map with hilarious Rules and ...

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Overview

A treat for fans of ghastly gore and egregious endings.

“Contains a Dangerous Beast and a Miserable End,” states a warning on the cover. But if you are strong of heart and like your humor a little on the dark side, jump right into the brilliant collaboration of the Edwardian humorist Hilaire Belloc, dead for the past 57 years, and the very much alive Mini Grey. Grey's sly illustrations, clever type designs, amazing lift-the-flaps, and a roaring lion pop-up, not to mention her zoo map with hilarious Rules and Byelaws, make this edition of the classic cautionary tale a collectible to savor. Decidedly not a lift-the-flap for babies, it will lift the spirits of anyone with a well-developed sense of humor.

Describes the terrible fate that befell a disobedient little boy at the zoo.

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 3–5—In this parody of a cautionary tale, a lion eats disobedient young Jim. While the text states that Jim's "Friends were very good to him," the mixed-media illustrations show otherwise, as the adults who care for the boy overfeed him to the point of illness, give him a tricycle too small for him, and subject him to boring read-alouds. No wonder "Jim slipped his hand and ran away" while his nurse flirted with a man at the zoo. The moral? "…always keep a-hold of Nurse/For fear of finding something WORSE." Wryly humorous, cartoon illustrations with foldout pages, flaps, and a pop-up lion extend the sarcastic text. Some adults may object to the depiction of Jim's decapitated head and the bloody "Dainty Morsel" in the lion's mouth, but kids with an ironic sense of humor who are beginning to question adult authority will likely eat this story up.—Julie R. Ranelli, Queen Anne's County Free Library, Stevensville, MD
Publishers Weekly
Schoolboy Jim is a cousin to the ill-fated urchins of Struwwelpeter and The Gashlycrumb Tinies. In this macabre rhyme from Belloc's Cautionary Tales for Children (1907), re-engineered with interactive elements, Jim enjoys nice meals and toys, but his eyelids droop with boredom. He prefers breaking rules, and when Jim visits the zoo, the text carps, "hildren never are allowed/ To leave their Nurses in a Crowd." Jim pays no heed, and while his distracted sitter flirts with a dandy, he breaks free: "He hadn't gone a yard when--BANG!/ With open Jaws, a Lion sprang." Belloc and Grey (Traction Man Is Here!) work in the British tradition of dark comedy, and some readers might take it in stride as a lion pops from the spread and devours the terrified Jim ("beginning at his feet"). Others will be aghast at the witty but grisly sequence of the attack and the sight of Jim's severed head. Jim may be undisciplined, but his demise seems undeserved. Playful windows and gatefolds imply lighthearted fun, while the troubling content could shock the uninitiated. Proceed with caution. Ages 8–up. (Sept.)
From the Publisher
"Uproariously funny . . . children will laugh their heads off--especially if the book is read aloud with an English accent." Kirkus, starred
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Belloc's rhyming "cautionary tale" of a young boy who comes to a bad end is given both visualization and action. It begins and ends with end pages that first repeat framed old sayings, like "Least said, soonest mended," and "What's done cannot be undone;" then close with "Children should be eaten and not heard." In between we meet Jim, whose friends are "very good to him." Double fold-outs display their generosity, while pasted-in books and maps add information. But Jim runs away from his nurse, meets up with a fierce, pop-up lion, and is eaten from his fold-out feet on up. Poor Jim's cries are heard by the keeper, but it is too late to save him. So on the final fold-out we are warned to "...always keep a-hold of Nurse/ For fear of finding something WORSE." The cartoon-y characters are organized in a variety of scenes that are effective in delivering the black humor. On the cover Jim is dressed as in a previous century; the slingshot in his pocket hints at his character. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Kirkus Reviews
"WARNING: CONTAINS A DANGEROUS BEAST AND A MISERABLE END." It says it right on the cover, so the fainthearted can't say they weren't properly admonished. Belloc first published this rhyming cautionary tale about the perils of disobedience in 1907, and this version debuted in England in 2009. Grey's artwork is gorgeous and bold (that perfect ham!). Fold-outs, pop-ups and lift-up flaps contribute to the over-the-top element that makes even little Jim's bloody, chewed-off head seem not as horrific as it might. In fact, readers may not feel a lick of sympathy for Jim, as the boy looks bored out of his mind throughout, only showing emotion (fear, to be exact) when the lion begins to consume him by degrees. The elaborate fold-out "ZOO RULES AND BYELAWS" section is uproariously funny, including the "If You Are an Animal" column forbidding creatures to trumpet, stampede, charge, constrict, maul, circle, swarm, etc. All but the most sensitive children (over eight) will laugh their...heads off—especially if the book is read aloud with an English accent. (Picture book. 8 & up)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780316138161
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
  • Publication date: 5/1/1987
  • Series: Joy Street Bks.
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Pages: 24
  • Age range: 7 years

Meet the Author

Mini Grey is the author-artist of the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award–winning picture book Traction Man Is Here! and its sequel, Traction Man Meets Turbodog. The books received five and six starred reviews, respectively. Her quirky, off-the-wall humor can also be seen in The Adventures of the Dish and the Spoon, The Very Smart Pea and the Princess to Be, Ginger Bear, and Egg Drop.

Hilaire Belloc (1870–1953) wrote the now-classic cautionary tale Jim in 1907. It was written as a satirical response to the didactic morality tales popular for children in Victorian times and was intended as much for adults as children. He lived and died in England.

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