Lafcadio, the Lion Who Shot Back

Lafcadio, the Lion Who Shot Back

4.7 7
by Shel Silverstein

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Shel Silverstein's first children's book, Lafcadio, the Lion Who Shot Back—a whimsical tale of self-discovery and marshmallows—is turning fifty with a return to a vintage full-color cover.

Is a famous, successful, and admired lion a happy lion? Or is he a lion at all? Written and drawn with wit and gusto, Shel Silverstein's modern

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Shel Silverstein's first children's book, Lafcadio, the Lion Who Shot Back—a whimsical tale of self-discovery and marshmallows—is turning fifty with a return to a vintage full-color cover.

Is a famous, successful, and admired lion a happy lion? Or is he a lion at all? Written and drawn with wit and gusto, Shel Silverstein's modern fable speaks not only to children but to us all!

First published in 1963, this book had rave reviews from the New York Times, Time magazine, and Publishers Weekly, as well as a starred review from Kirkus. Now celebrating its fiftieth anniversary, Lafcadio is being reissued with a full-color cover featuring vintage art from Shel Silverstein discovered in the archives.

Lafcadio, the Lion Who Shot Back is the book that started Shel Silverstein's incomparable career as a bestselling children's book author and illustrator. He is also the creator of picture books such as A Giraffe and a Half, Who Wants a Cheap Rhinoceros?, The Missing Piece, The Missing Piece Meets the Big O, and the perennial favorite The Giving Tree and of classic poetry collections such as Where the Sidewalk Ends, A Light in the Attic, Falling Up, Every Thing On It, Don't Bump the Glump!, and Runny Babbit.

Supports the Common Core State Standards.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Susan Treadway
Rich in word play and impish humor, a young fearless lion explores diverse interests in Africa (and beyond) and cleverly interweaves real life challenges with fanciful dichotomies. It is a marvelous launch of the prolific career for Shel Silverstein weaving dreams and adventures into timeless stories for all ages. This hardback 50th Anniversary Edition renders classic puns (by prolific, silly run-ons) illustrated by the author's black and white line drawings to create a distinctive array of iconic scenes, which clearly render Lafcadio's exceptional circumstances as perfectly normal. His nonchalant manner is accentuated over and over again in the author's playful text whether Lafcadio promptly eats a hunter, or urgently orders a custom-tailored marshmallow suit, or even casually imparts his forceful "GRAUGRRR" at just the right moment to insure Lafcadio gets what he wants right now. Older readers can relate to critical dilemmas such as becoming rich and famous as a brave circus performer who is quite surprised by increasing unhappiness. Becoming a more civilized lion certainly delivered splendid experiences, but comes with a high price. Thus, discussing life lessons while stretching imaginations bring delightful fun to young and old alike as a hilarious read-aloud, an in-depth study of Silverstein's works and characters, or as a wonderful retreat from the daily grind. Regardless, Lafcadio warms the heart and soul once again! Reviewer: Susan Treadway

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Edition description:
40th Anniversary Edition
Product dimensions:
7.00(w) x 8.87(h) x 0.65(d)
NC1010L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Once there was a young lion and his name was -- well, I don't really know what his name was because he lived in the jungle with a lot of other lions and if he did have a name it certainly wasn't a name like Joe or Ernie or anything like that. No, it was more of a lion name like, oh, maybe Grograph or Ruggrrg or Grmmff or Grrrrr.

Well, anyway, he had a name like that and he lived in the jungle with the other lions and he did the usual lion things like jumping and playing in the grass and swimming in the, river and eating rabbits and chasing other lions and sleeping in the sun, and he was very happy.

Well, then, one day -- I believe it was a Thursday -- after all the lions had eaten a good lunch and were sleeping in the sun, snoring lions' snores, and the sky was blue and the birds were going kaw kaw and the grass was blowing in the breeze and it was quiet and wonderful, suddenly . . .

There was such a loud sound, all the lions woke up fast and jumped straight up in the air. And they started to run. Lickety-split, lickety-clipt or clippety-clop, clippety-clop, or is that the way horses run? Well, they ran whatever way lions run. I don't know, maybe even pippety-pat. Anyway, they all ran away--

Well, almost all.

There was one lion that did not run, and that is the one I am going to tell you the story about. This one lion, he just sat up and blinked and winked in the sun and stretched his arms -- well, maybe he stretched his paws-- and he rubbed the sleep out of his eyes and he said, "Hey, why is everybody running?"

Andan old lion who was running by said, "Run, kid, run, run, run, run, run, the hunters are coming."

"Hunters? Hunters? What are hunters?" said the young lion, still blinking in the sun.

"Look," said the old lion, 44 you'd better stop asking so many questions and just run if you know what's good for you."

So the young lion got up and stretched and began to run with the other lions. Pippity-pat, or was it clippety-clop? I think we have gone through all of this before.

And after he had run for a while, he stopped and looked back.

"Hunters," he said to himself, "I wonder what hunters are?"

And he said the name hunters over and over to himself: "Hunters, hunters." And you know, he liked the sound of the name hunters -- you know, the way some people like the sound of the words Tuscaloosa or tapioca or Carioca or gumbo, he liked the sound of the word hunters.

So he let all the other lions run ahead and he stopped and he hid in the tall grass, and soon he could see the hunters coming and they all stood on their hind feet and they all wore nice little red caps and they all carried funny sticks that made loud noises.

And the young lion liked their looks.

Yes he just liked their looks. So when a nice hunter with green eyes and one tooth missing in the front passed by the tall grass with his funny red cap (that had some egg salad on it, by the way) the young lion stood up.

"Hi, hunter," he said.

"Good heavens," cried the hunter, "a ferocious lion, a dangerous lion, a roaring, bloodthirsty man-eating lion."

"I am not a man-eating lion," said the young lion. "I eat rabbits and blackberries."

"No excuses," said the hunter. "I am going to shoot


"But I give up," said the young lion, and he put up his paws in the air.

"Don't be silly," said the hunter. "Who ever heard of a lion giving up. Lions don't give up, lions fight to the en& Lions eat up hunters! So I must shoot you now and make you into a nice rug and put you in front of my fireplace and on cold winter evenings I will sit on you and toast marshmallows."

"Well, my goodness, you don't have to shoot me," said the young lion. "I will be your rug and I will lie in front of your fireplace and I won't move a muscle and you can sit on me and toast all the marshmallows you want. I love marshmallows," said the young lion.

"You what?" said the hunter.

"Well," said the young lion, "to be absolutely honest with you, I don't know if I really love marshmallows or not because I have never tasted one, but I love most things and 1 love the sound of the word marshmallow and if they taste like they sound -- mmmmmmmmmmmmm! -- I just know I will love them."

"That Is ridiculous," said the hunter. "I have never heard of a lion giving up. I have never heard of a lion eating marshmallows. I am going to shoot you now and that is that." And he put his funny stick up to his shoulder.

"But why?" said the young lion.

"Because I am, that is why," said the hunter, and he pulled the trigger. And the stick went click.

"What was that click?" said the young lion. "Am I shot?"

Well, as you can imagine, the hunter was very embarrassed about this and his face turned as red as his cap.

"I'm afraid I forgot to load my gun," he said. "I guess the joke is on me -- ha ha -- but if you will just excuse me for a moment, I will put a bullet in and we will go on from there."

"No," said the young lion, "I don't think I will. I don't think I will let you put a bullet in. I don't think I will let you shoot me.

Lafcadio, the Lion Who Shot Back. Copyright © by Shel Silverstein. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Lafcadio, the Lion Who Shot Back 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
mctdlt More than 1 year ago
I have read this to students in K-12, gifted and not, they simply adored it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have shared this book with my students for many years. Shel Silverstein writes a hilarious story that resonates with kids and adults. I read it at the beginning of the year and use it to teach all year long. Lafcadio will make you laugh and touch your heart!
Guest More than 1 year ago
My dad used to read this book to my sisters and I when we were kids, even in our early adolescents. It has been read over and over and would still probably have to me my all time favorites. It is an easy read, and extremely entertaining, I love Shel Silverstein.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is not just a silly kids book, its a book with a lot of meaning. when you look past the story line you find a hidden meaning. Shel Silverstein is an amazing author and knows how to inspire people in his work.
Guest More than 1 year ago
kids should read this book because if you like lion and guns this is the book for you. i think kids of the age 6 -10 should read this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book when I was a kid, the book is easy to read. It's about a lovable lion who loves marshmallows and goes off in search of marshmallows, I loved the book and was just thinking about it recently and decided to see if it was still in print. I would love to add this book in my vast collection and I would recommend you to do the same. It is also a good bedtime read for the kids.