A highly original series of wildlife stories combining fantastic photos with bright graphic images - the result is bright, engaging photo storybooks.
Children's Literature - Jennifer GreeneCub is a playful baby lion, but when no one will play with him he decides to climb a tree. Then Cub gets stuck and it is Mom to the rescue! The text of this book is largely dialog, leading children and adults to create a fun read-aloud experience with animal sounds and different voices. However, the book presents a problematic representation of lions where the collaged artwork clearly uses real images out of context. The story also projects an unrealistic nuclear family on the lions, which, when paired with real wildlife photos, causes confusion as to what is realistic and what is fictionalized. The ending deemphasizes the danger or urgency in Cub's predicament, and while this makes the story appropriate for younger audiences, it also makes the plot generic and the moral forgettable. Further, the book ignores the fact that real lions must play-fight with siblings and test their physical abilities in order to learn, again representing a story incongruent with accurate wildlife facts. The end of the book includes notes for parents and teachers with questions and activities to use in further engaging children with the story. However, these questions seem to indicate that the book should be read factually, with ideas like discussing where lions live and comparing the mother lion's role to that of a father lion's. This is in stark contrast to the fictional contrivances used in the narrative. Altogether, this book may stunt visual literacy skills by rewarding a complacent acceptance of received interpretation rather than encouraging critical thinking and evaluation skills. Children interested in lions may be better suited by the "Disney Nature" book African Cats: A Lion's Pride by Catherine Hapka.
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