Show-and-Tell Lion

Show-and-Tell Lion

by Barbara Abercrombie, Lynne Avril

When Matthew tells his class that he has a pet lion, he has no idea what he's getting himself into. The more he talks, the bigger his story grows. How can Matthew use his wonderful imagination to make his show-and-tell lion real?


When Matthew tells his class that he has a pet lion, he has no idea what he's getting himself into. The more he talks, the bigger his story grows. How can Matthew use his wonderful imagination to make his show-and-tell lion real?

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Phyllis Kennemer
Stumped for an idea for show-and-tell, Matthew blurts out that he has a baby lion at home. His classmates are impressed. In response to their eager questions, Matthew's imagination soars. He tells them that his lion sleeps in his bed at night, climbs trees, and swims in the ocean. As the story grows, so does the lion, now named Larry. When his class starts planning a field trip to his house, Matthew knows something must be done. He confers with his mother. She praises his imagination and reinforces what he has already figured out--he has to tell the truth. Then Matthew has a good idea. He draws pictures of Larry in his various exploits and makes a book to share during show-and-tell. When Sarah accuses him of lying, Matthew tells her that Larry is real in his head and real in his book. His teacher invites him to read his story to the class. They love it. Now Matthew writes a chapter about Larry each week and he never runs out of ideas for show-and-tell time again. A good read aloud offering many possibilities for group discussion, including the value of telling the truth, the joys of imagination, and potential ideas for creating books.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 1-Matthew has nothing to share for show-and-tell, so he informs his class that a lion is living at his house. Everyone believes him, and this initial lie spawns many others, as the boy must answer questions about his pet's daily activities and invent fresh excuses as to why no one can come to see it. Eventually Matthew confesses the situation to his mother, who tells him he must be honest with his classmates. The boy puts all his stories into a book and explains to the children that the lion was only real in his head, an explanation they readily accept. The idea that all of the students would have believed him in the first place strains credulity, as does the fact that his deceptions would be so easily forgiven. However, the story could spark discussions about the value of honesty and facing up to bad decisions. Cravath's chalk pastel and acrylic illustrations have a pleasant hazinesss appropriate to the theme of fantasy blending into reality. Evaline Ness's Sam, Bangs and Moonshine (Holt, 1966) is a stronger book, but this one would be a useful addition for larger collections.-Grace Oliff, Ann Blanche Smith School, Hillsdale, NJ Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
It's Matthew's turn to share at show-and-tell, but he can't think of a thing to say. Suddenly, he finds himself telling the class that he has a pet lion that sleeps at the foot of his bed. Everyone-even his teacher-wants to know more. In the days that follow, Matthew embellishes his story. He describes the lion, Larry, in detail, and tells the class what Larry eats and how much he's growing. Matthew is also careful to come up with reasons the lion is too busy for visitors. Eventually, though, Matthew realizes he can't keep his secret any longer, so he turns to his mother for advice. She encourages him to tell the truth, and Matthew comes up with a way to make everyone happy: He'll write down Larry's story, illustrate it with his own drawings and share it with his friends at show-and-tell. Glowing chalk pastel pictures complement the text, and Matthew's story ends on a comforting note that perfectly embodies the importance of creativity, honesty and acceptance. (Picture book. 3-6)

Product Details

Margaret K. McElderry Books
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
10.30(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.30(d)
AD560L (what's this?)
Age Range:
3 - 7 Years

Meet the Author

Barbara Abercrombie, an author of books for both children and adults, teaches creative writing in the Writers' Program at UCLA Extension and conducts writing workshops for the Wellness Community. She lives with her husband in Santa Monica, California, and Twin Bridges, Montana.

Lynne Avril is the illustrator of several books for children, including The Penny Pot by Stuart J. Murphy; He Saves the Day by Marsha Hayles; and One Little, Two Little, Three Little Pilgrims by B. G. Hennessy. Ms. Cravath lives with her family in Phoenix, Arizona. Visit her online at

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