Sunday 28 October 2012

In the Lion

In the Lion In the Lion by James Foley (Walker Books)
HB RRP $27.95
ISBN 978-1-921720-32-1
Reviewed by Anastasia Gonis

Richard, his parents and the twins are at the zoo. From a ramp above they can see into the lion enclosure which is surrounded outside by other animal cages. In goes the dentist with a giant tooth brush to clean the lion’s teeth. Richard and his family watch on until after one gulp, all that remains is the toothbrush.

As Richard looks on in shock, and his parents try to calm the twins, in goes the hairdresser. Only the comb, the mirror, the rollers and the ribbon are left. People start to gather as Richard starts to call attention to the happenings. Cameras click. Glasses are adjusted. Binoculars are focused.

Along comes the zookeeper with a key, accompanied by the chef who carries lots of large steaks, one of which she offers to the lion. They too, go in the lion and all that remains is the key, and the scattered containers and kitchen trolley. More people have gathered and look on in fright. Others start to run.

The lion has entered the yard headed for the animal enclosures. Chaos reigns. First the walrus is in the lion, then a flamingo, two monkeys and an armadillo. The lion stretches out to rest, his stomach bulging.

Little Richard is ready to right this wrong. He charges into the enclosure and grabs the giant toothbrush. At his approach the lion roars. Richard jams in the toothbrush to keep open the gaping jaws. Now he is in the lion then he is out, followed by all the animals and the people.

The front cover shows the open mouth of the lion whilst the back cover shows the end and the tail with Richard creeping behind it, indicating that everything happens between the mouth and the tail.

The illustrations are priceless! Even without the text the story is crystal clear. There is a perfect union of text and illustration. The illustrations are created with graphite drawings and digital colour. A highly entertaining story of courage and daring but pure fantasy (young listeners/ readers must be assured of this) for the 5+ age group.

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