Monday 1 September 2014

Jim’s Lion

Jim’s Lion by Russell Hoban, illustrated by Alexis Deacon (Walker Books)
HC RRP 19.95
ISBN 9781406346022
Reviewed by Anastasia Gonis

Jim’s Lion was first published in 2001 by Walker Books. That edition was illustrated by Ian Andrew. In this new edition, Alexis Deacon has created a stunning interpretation of the late Russell Hoban’s work. Its themes include strength and courage, overcoming fear and weakness, and the power of dreams.

Jim is sick and afraid. His dreams are filled with places he goes to in his sleep. He fears that when the doctors put him to sleep, he will lose those places and dreams.

He needs to find the inner strength to overcome whatever is hindering his recovery. His nurse suggests he look for his animal finder; the animal that can bring him back from wherever he will go when the doctors put him to sleep. She also gives him a don’t-run stone. Now it’s up to Jim.

These are the tools Jim needs for an optimistic state of mind. He discovers his finder is a lion. He must be like the lion; fearless, powerful and strong to fight his fears and overcome his sickness. His lion is always there to save and protect him from the threats, dangers and the darkness he has to travel through. Jim is sheltered and protected until he becomes the lion.

Powerful and full of symbolism, Jim’s Lion is an extraordinary work of art in every sense, and a collector’s delight. Hoban was called a genius. This book once again reinforces that truth.

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