Our Touring Book Club choice this month is the wonderful How To Be a Lion written and illustrated by Ed Vere and published by Puffin Books. When we first heard about the release of this book in June, we were all incredibly excited as Ed is one of our favourite authors and illustrators. We just love his brilliantly bold style of illustration and the way he writes with such warmth and humour. Ed also has an incredible talent for creating really unique and expressive characters, such as Max the Brave and Grumpy Frog, so we were expecting great things from his new book, How To Be A Lion.
About the book
In this story, we meet Leonard, a lion and his friend Marianne, a duck. Now we all know that lions are meant to chomp ducks but not Leonard. He is a gentle lion that likes to daydream and write poems! Together he and Marianne write poetry, go for walks and make wishes on shooting stars. However Leonard's gentle ways are soon challenged by a pack of fierce lions when they tell him he too should be fierce. With the help of his friend, Marianne, Leonard decides that there is not just one way to be a lion and stands up to fierce bunch.
This is a wonderfully touching story about having the courage to not only be yourself but to stand up for yourself when challenged by perhaps your louder and more dominating peers. It is also a story of a special and very supportive friendship. As many children in England and Wales return to school this week, the Mini Reviewers included, it seems the perfect time to read this book and talk about the importance of having the freedom to be oneself, coping with peer pressure and the power of genuine friendship.
One of our favourite elements of the story are the beautiful images of the two friends, Leonard, a lion and Marianne, a duck and this made us think about some of our other favourite friendships in our picture books in our collection. We thought that we would share these with you because again, they are great stories for little ones as they start or return to school for the new school year.
Our favourite books about friendship
Our first choice is Sylvia and Bird written and illustrated by Catherine Rayner and published by Little Tiger Press. This is a gentle story about an unlikely duo. Sylvia, a giant and "shimmer-shiny"dragon, is lonely. She is the only dragon in the world. Then she meets bird. Bird is rather small. Together they have lots of fun and discover the true meaning of friendship. Catherine Rayner is another of our favourite illustrators and the colour palette she has chosen, combined with the tenderness shown in her pictures makes for a visually exquisite book.
Kevin is written and illustrated by Rob Biddulph and published by Harper Collins and is one of Mini Reviewer, Theo's favourite books of all time! Although the story is about a boy and his imaginary friend, Kevin, it carries a very real and important message about being a good friend. It is a great book for introducing the idea of empathy and taking responsibility for your own actions. We would recommend it for children from around the age of 3 years and upwards.
The Marvellous Moon Map written by Teresa Heapy, illustrated by David Litchfield and published by Red Foxwas one of our favourite books of last year. It is still read over and over again in our house and remains a firm bedtime favourite. It is a tale of friendship between a mouse and a bear and you can read why Theo's loves it so much here. The sequel, The Spectacular City, has recently been released and is on our wish list. It looks absolutely beautiful so we can't wait to get our hands on a copy!
Our final choice is Hector and Hummingbird written and illustrated by Nicholas John Frith and published by Scholastic. We initially borrowed this book from the library but loved it so much we just had to purchase a copy of our own. Hector is a bear with a problem, his friend Hummingbird is noisy and is always copying and following him. But when Hector goes in search of some peace and quiet, he soon starts to miss his little but loud friend. This great story is incredibly touching yet full of humour and (as you can see) there is so much to spot amongst the quirky illustrations.
We would love to hear your own favourite friendships in picture books, please do leave us a comment below.
Also don't forget to visit our fellow Touring Book Club bloggers' posts to see where this brilliant story has taken them:
Mamma Filz - Book Inspired Art
Bookbairn - The Joy of Signed Books
Acorn Books - Silly Sentences
There is also the chance to win a signed copy of How To Be a Lion on Twitter. Click here now.
The Touring Book Club returns next month with The Boy and The Bear until then we hope you enjoy our other posts.
Kate & the Mini Reviewers xx
Disclaimer: We were kindly sent a copy of How To Be A Lion from Puffin Books for the purpose of this post. The other featured books are favourites from our personal collection. All opinions are as always our own.