Willoughby and the Lion

Willoughby and the Lion

5.0 2
by Greg Foley
     
 

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This is the story of Willoughby, whose new house feels too small and very lonely.

It's also the story of an enchanted lion and spectacular wishes come true: of roller coasters, and fast, fast shoes, and enormous crowds of people.

But most of all, it's the story of one important question: What is the most wonderful thing of

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Overview

This is the story of Willoughby, whose new house feels too small and very lonely.

It's also the story of an enchanted lion and spectacular wishes come true: of roller coasters, and fast, fast shoes, and enormous crowds of people.

But most of all, it's the story of one important question: What is the most wonderful thing of all?

Award-winning author-illustrator Greg Foley grew up in Austin, Texas, and attended the Rhode Island School of Design. He now designs and creative-directs Visionaire, V Magazine, and VMAN and lives in Greenwich Village, New York. Willoughby & the Lion is the first book in the Willoughby series.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Foley (Thank You Bear) scores points for unique visual presentation in this sumptuously produced, two-color book, instantly distinguished by its heavily embossed jacket. Willoughby Smith has moved to a disappointing new home, pictured in a flimsy black line on an expanse of white. One day, Willoughby sees a lion perched on a boulder. Rendered in metallic gold ink, the lion shines, its gleam set off by the book's highly coated paper. The lion promises Willoughby 10 wishes but adds, "Unless you wish for the most wonderful thing of all, I'll be stuck on this rock forever." Willoughby's first nine wishes benefit himself, from a palace shown in gold on black (it resembles a crisply engraved metal plate) to "a hot-air-balloon-submarine," intricately diagrammed in white on gold. With every wish, the ratio of gold to gray increases and Foley's compositions, mingling line drawings with digitally manipulated b&w photos, become more complex. Brassy layers and a sprinkling of stars imply fantastic wealth, leavened with grayscale pixels; the elegant combination of the two basic colors boosts the visual impact exponentially. The 10th wish, whispered to the lion, finally reverses the acquisitive sequence; Foley implies selflessness at last, signaled by an expansive sunrise of gold lines against pure white, and a small gold coin labeled "true friend" (a removable facsimile is stored within the interior back cover). A second Willoughby title, about Willoughby and the moon, will use black and metallic silver ink. Ages 4-7. (Feb.)

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Children's Literature - Mary Hynes-Berry
Greg Foley joins Mo Willems and Antoinette Portis in a new generation of children's book writer/illustrators who use spare text and minimalist illustrations to effectively explore central issues of early childhood. The black drawing of the first spread pictures just how isolated and friendless Willoboughby feels in his new smaller house. turning the page, things start to look a little brighter. A golden lion appears on the one rock in the clearing and offers Willoughby 10 wishes. But the lion also warns the boy that unless he wishes for the most important thing in the world, the lion will be caught on the rock forever. So, Willoughby wishes for palaces, inside roller coasters and other extravagances—all of which are shown in gold. Then with nine wishes gone, Willoughby and the lion realize the critical one hasn't been made yet. The lion confides that what he wishes is that he could run free with the other lions. The next morning all of Willoughby's glittering wishes are gone but there on the lion's stone is a gold coin marked "True Friend." Without any heavy-handed moralizing, we infer that the most important thing in the world is to find happiness in helping our friends. Reviewer: Mary Hynes-Berry
School Library Journal

K-Gr 3

An embossed front cover, line drawings, and eye-popping black and gold and digital illustrations combine to produce a stunning visual representation of the brief text of this friendship story. Willoughby, dejected because of an unwanted move, sees a gold lion sitting on a rock in his backyard. The lion can grant him 10 wishes but warns: "unless you wish for the most wonderful thing of all, I'll be stuck on this rock forever." The boy wishes for a bigger house, a roller-coaster ride, the fastest shoes in the world, and many more delights. Each time, the lion complies on a grand scale. The house becomes a magnificent golden palace; the ride is provided by a giant black-and-gold roller coaster; the shoes are huge golden sneakers. Crowds stretching over a spread come to observe Willoughby and his amazing lion. But still, the youngster hasn't made the wish that will free the animal. He sits in black gloom as he dreams of running free, his longing represented by a golden spread of cavorting lions, their movement captured in flowing white outlines. Finally, an enlightened Willoughby whispers his most important wish to the lion and awakens the next morning to find his cozy house once again, the lion gone, and in his place, a gold coin with the words, "true friend." This wonderful offering is the first of several forthcoming stories about these two friends.-Marianne Saccardi, formerly at Norwalk Community College, CT

Kirkus Reviews
Willoughby Smith doesn't much like his new home but learns that all is not lost when he discovers a magical wish-giving lion stuck on a rock in his backyard. Willoughby is offered ten wishes to play with, but only a wish for "the most wonderful thing" will free the lion from its perch. After wishing for a riot of kid-friendly indulgences ranging from footwear to food, Willoughby befriends the lion and uses his last wish wisely and well. With enough gold foil to bankrupt the industry accenting the otherwise black-and-white illustrations, Foley's madcap vision employs multiple styles and techniques and signals an abrupt departure from his previously simple Bear books (Good Luck Bear, 2009). Kids will enjoy participating in the wish countdown, though some may be disappointed when they find that not only do Willoughby's wishes disappear at the story's end but so does his one and only friend. In spite of this Foley's signature sweetness is definitely present and accounted for. (Picture book. 4-8)
ALA Booklist
“Sure to capture children’s fancy.”
Newsday
“The images in this book stick in the mind’s eye, and may encourage kids to try out different ideas in their pictures.”

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780062184634
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
11/15/2011
Sold by:
HARPERCOLLINS
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
40
File size:
10 MB
Age Range:
4 - 7 Years

Meet the Author

Award-winning author-illustrator Greg Foley grew up in Austin, Texas, and attended the Rhode Island School of Design. He now designs and creative-directs Visionaire, V Magazine, and VMAN and lives in Greenwich Village, New York. He is also the author-illustrator of Willoughby & the Lion and Willoughby & the Moon.

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