Nanta's Lion: A Search-and-Find Adventure

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Caldecott Honor artist MacDonald (Alphabatics) makes hay with an unusual format, using die-cut half pages to deliver a snazzy surprise ending. ``Far away in Africa,'' an inquisitive Maasai girl sets out to see the lion that has been attacking the villagers' cattle. Nanta spots indigenous fauna during her trek but, no matter where she looks, ``there was no lion.'' As a series of die-cut partial pages reveals the rolling vistas of a savannah, the reader is unlikely to notice that the pictures on the verso pages are slowly combining to produce an image of a recumbent lion. Foliage on a hilly horizon, for example, becomes the creature's mane; two parrots on the penultimate spread turn out to be the eyes. In the last view, every feature falls into place, and the reader's delight in recognizing the king of the jungle will be deepened by the deadpan text: ``Nanta was thirsty after all that walking. She sat down [against the hill that doubles as the lion's flank] to drink her milk. She never did see the lion. Did you?'' Ages 3-up. (Apr.)
Children's Literature - Dr. Judith Campbell
Nanta has heard about the lion that was stealing cattle from her village. As the men are planning a lion hunt, Nanta slips away to see the lion for herself. As she crosses groves of trees and plains of tall grass, she sees several animals including a giraffe, a water buffalo, and a hippopotamus, but no lion. After a brief visit at the next village, she prepares to leave and to the reader's surprise she sits right next to the lion as she rests before her journey home. The illustrations are innovative and fun, as each has one or two animals hidden in the picture. The pages are cut so that the pictures toward the end combine to illustrate the lion seen by the reader but missed by Nanta. This book also has an exciting conclusion.
Children's Literature - Susie Wilde
The author, well-known for her strong graphics, unites story with picture in Nanta's Lion. When the men of Nanta's Maasai village search for a lion, young Nanta initiates a hunt of her own. She walks through a grove of thorn trees, seeks from high atop a termite mound, and creeps through long grasses, "but there was no lion." The book is a great teaching tool, as Masaai habitats and animals are presented within the context of a story. With Nanta to lead them, students in the early grades will gain a more real-life view of the African plains. But the best part is the fun children will have participating in the choruses and discovering the surprise buried in the book. It's cleverly designed to hide the lion in turned pages. Nanta may not find him, but here's betting your students will!
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-Nanta is curious about the lion that is bothering her Masai village. She sets out alone to look for it but instead finds a water buffalo, gazelle, hippopotamus, stork, monkeys, and parrots. Disappointed in not locating the big cat, she takes a drink and rests, unaware that it is not far away (``She never did see the lion. Did you?'') There is a parallel story taking place here, told through the cut-and-shaped pages. As it is turned, each page adds to the previous background until the trees, huts, and hills in the illustrations form the lion himself. Soft, clear colors and a cartoonlike style present a pleasant, uncluttered look. This is a clever but gimmicky book that is strictly an additional purchase for multicultural units.-Beth Tegart, Oneida City Schools, NY
Carolyn Phelan
Curious about the lion that has stolen cattle from her Maasai village, Nanta sets out to find it. In a series of attractive double-page spreads painted in flat colors, the girl walks across the countryside to a neighboring village. Cut to different shapes and heights, the pages overlap, adding depth to the landscape. On the final spread, the page edges outline a lion's mane, eyes, and nose. The story ends with the words, "She never did see the lion. Did you?" Though they may have dozed through the pages in which Nanta walks about and observes various African animals, children will wake up to point out the lion that Nanta is sitting on but does not see. This state of affairs may not sound logical, but it works well visually and forms a child-pleasing climax to the simple (and rather slight) story.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780688131258
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/28/1995
  • Pages: 24
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.30 (w) x 10.24 (h) x 0.46 (d)

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