The Lion and the Little Red Bird

The Lion and the Little Red Bird

by Elisa Kleven

Paperback(Reprint)

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780140558098
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date: 02/28/1996
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 32
Sales rank: 251,599
Product dimensions: 8.00(w) x 9.56(h) x 0.14(d)
Lexile: 690L (what's this?)
Age Range: 2 - 5 Years

About the Author

I write and illustrate picture books because I've never outgrown a deep childhood urge to enter a magical world. As a child growing up in Los Angeles, I used to wish that my huge, congested city were more like the places in the books that I loved - places where forests grew and seasons changed, where animals talked and anything was possible. I envied those characters who slid down rabbit holes, or visited with Charlotte and Wilbur, or flew with Peter Pan, or floated with Mary Poppins, or journeyed to Oz.

Since I couldn't actually visit these wonderful worlds (except, of course, by reading), I made little imaginary worlds of my own, using the materials at hand. My favorite project was an enormous dollhouse in my closet. The house was filled both with "store-bought" toys, and with dolls and creatures which I made myself, from paper, cloth and clay. I'd lose myself for hours making up stories about these characters. I loved to make them treasures from scraps of this and that: a paper doily would become a lace tablecloth; half a walnut-shell would be a baby's cozy cradle; a postage stamp would make a lovely portrait on the wall. Around the dollhouse I painted a mural, a fanciful landscape of forests, fields, mountains, blue skies - the world that I wished I could live in.

I lived in Los Angeles until I was 17, then left to study at U.C. Berkeley where I received a BA in English and later a teaching credential. After reading to young children as a teacher for several years, I had a strong desire to make my own books. My first picture book was published in 1988, and eighteen have followed. (Sometimes I illustrate other authors' stories, sometimes my own.) Like all authors and illustrators, I love to make up characters, and build stories and environments around them. To make my pictures I combine many media: watercolor, gouache, ink, colored pencils, pastels, markers, crayons — anything that works! I also use lots of collage. As I did in childhood, I snip and glue old scraps into new shapes: a piece of wool becomes a lion's mane or a child's hair. A doily, snipped to bits, becomes a snowstorm.

Like my collages, my stories are also about the power of imagination to transform old into new, familiar into fantastical. In the book The Lion And The Little Red Bird, a lion turns his tail into a paintbrush, and the walls of his cave into a sunlit, painted world. In The Paper Princess, a drawing on paper becomes full of possibilities: by turns, it is a paper doll, a crumbled wad of litter, a birthday card, and a beloved doll again. The child in Hooray, A Pinata! imagines that a dog pi"ata is a favorite pet. Ernst the crocodile in The Puddle Pail sees ordinary rain puddles as sparkling, collectible treasures . The girl in A Monster In The House imagines her baby brother to be a giant, messy, screaming, toe-sucking, hair-pulling monster. And in my newest book, Sun Bread, a baker brightens a bleak winter by shaping bread dough into a warm, glowing, life-giving sun.

Although I love creating imaginary worlds, I also enjoy drawing real places. Three of the books I've illustrated take place in big U.S. cities. Abuela, by Arthur Dorros, is set in New York. City By The Bay, by Tricia Brown, is "a magical journey around San Fransisco." And City Of Angels, by Julie Jaskol and Brian Lewis, explores my home city of L.A. The life,energy, textures and wealth of detail in cities inspire my collages.

I'm very inspired as well by my children, Mia and Ben (ages nine and four), my husband Paul, our two dogs and our cat. They all appear in many forms and disguises in my books! My family and I live in the town of Albany, California, next door to Berkeley and across the bay from San Fransisco. From our window, we can see the Golden Gate Bridge, and the boats on San Fransisco Bay.

copyright © 2000 by Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers. All rights reserved.

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Lion and the Little Red Bird 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
kisses4cc More than 1 year ago
For a school project I chose this book to read to 3rd graders and they loved it, we were even asked to read to another class as well. I also read it to my 3 and 4 yeard olds and right from the get go my daughter asked what color the lions tail was going to be next! I would definitely recommend it to any parent or teacher!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is a joy to read to children. They learn anticipation in guessing what color the lion's tail will be the next day. One of my all time favorites.
Guest More than 1 year ago
My 5 year old daughter picks this book every night. The little bird cannot understand why the lion's tail is a different color everyday. The lion enjoys the bird's company even though he cannot understand her language. The illustrations and colors are amazing, while the simple flow of the story never bores a young, interested mind.