The Happy Lion

Overview

The lion at the little French zoo is a favorite of all the townspeople. Every day they stop by to feed him tidbits and say, “Bonjour, Happy Lion.” Naturally, when the lion finds his door open, he decides it would only be proper to visit all his friendly neighbors in return. But, wait—sacré bleu! Why is everyone fleeing in terror?

“Louise Fatio’s timeless tale about friendship still sparkles and Roger Duvoisin’s elegant illustrations are as ...

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Overview

The lion at the little French zoo is a favorite of all the townspeople. Every day they stop by to feed him tidbits and say, “Bonjour, Happy Lion.” Naturally, when the lion finds his door open, he decides it would only be proper to visit all his friendly neighbors in return. But, wait—sacré bleu! Why is everyone fleeing in terror?

“Louise Fatio’s timeless tale about friendship still sparkles and Roger Duvoisin’s elegant illustrations are as engaging as ever in this 50th Anniversary edition.” —School Library Journal

When the door to his house at the zoo is left open a lion decides to visit his friends, but he quickly learns that people are not nearly as polite or friendly in town as when they visit him at the zoo.

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Editorial Reviews

The Washington Post
In this welcome anniversary edition, he still discovers, to his disappointment, that those friendly folk are not nearly so happy to see him loose, and he is still cheered when innocent little François hails him on the main street with the familiar greeting: "Bonjour, Happy Lion." Roger Duvoisin's whimsical illustrations, in lion-like colors of tawny yellow and orange, remain irresistible. — Elizabeth Ward
Publishers Weekly
A number of newly reissued classics aim to entertain new generations of readers. The Happy Lion by Louise Fatio, illus. by Roger Duvoisin, returns to celebrate its 50th anniversary. In the first of what was a series of 10 books, set in a provincial French town, this tale follows the hero after the door to his zoo is left open. The lion visits all the kind people who see him daily and grows confused by their terrified reactions. Duvoisin adds a charming mix of b&w and three-color illustrations of the scruffy protagonist. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
The lion is very happy in the zoo. He's away from the dangerous hunters in Africa and living in a town in France. Every day different people stop by to say hello to the lion. One day, the zoo keeper forgets to close the gate to the lion's cage, so the lion decides to go out and say hello to everyone. The sparrows and squirrels greet him pleasantly, but the lion is dismayed at the reactions of humans. Everyone screams, runs away, or faints. The people get the firemen to try to put the lion back in the zoo, but it is Francois, the zoo keeper's son, who persuades the lion to go back to his cage. The lion is happy to go back to the zoo because people are much more polite there. While the story is rife with imperialistic undertones characteristic of children's literature of the 1950s, the children of today will still enjoy the lion's adventures. The idea that a child can do some things adults cannot never gets old. Duvoisin's drawings add a charming atmosphere to this re-issued classic. 2004 (orig. 1954), Alfred A Knopf, Ages 4 up.
—Amie Rose Rotruck
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780553508505
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 3/10/2015
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 3 - 7 Years

Meet the Author

Louise Fatio collaborated with her famous illustrator husband, Roger Duvoisin, on The Happy Lion, one of the most beloved stories of the mid-20th century. Long unavailable, it was reissued in a hardcover edition to celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2004. She was born in Switzerland in 1904 and died in New Jersey in 1993.

Roger Duvoisin, a Caldecott Medal winner, wrote and illustrated 40 books, including those featuring Veronica the conspicuous hippopotamus and Petunia the silly goose. He collaborated with his wife, Louise Fatio, on nine more Happy Lion stories. He was born in Switzerland in 1904 and died in New Jersey in 1980.

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