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Is a lion still a lion if he wears a hat? With whimsical illustrations and a nod to earlier classics, Polly Dunbar celebrates the shrewd mind of a child — and the power of saying no.
Is a lion still a lion . . . if he skips down the street singing “Hoobie-doobie-doo"?
Dapper in his hat and flourishing a cane, a very large lion invites himself inside, inquires about Auntie Sue, and spins the two children of the house around the room in a silly dance. He doesn’t mind at all if they invite him to lunch, where he gobbles up all his greens and devours the plate, too. When he leans in to ask for dessert, his sharp teeth gleam oh so pearly white, and it seems very possible that he may just bite. . . . Surely it’s time to go-go-go — until, that is, the brave little girl finds her voice in a most satisfying way. The Cat in the Hat meets Pierre meets The Tiger Who Came to Tea in this rollicking story with an exhilarating ending.
About the Author
Polly Dunbar is the author-illustrator of numerous picture books, including Penguin, Arthur’s Dream Boat, Hello Tilly, Pretty Pru, and Good Night, Tiptoe. She is also the illustrator of Shoe Baby by Joyce Dunbar, Here’s a Little Poem by Jane Yolen and Andrew Fusek Peters, and My Dad’s a Birdman by David Almond. She lives in England.
Art and text use just the right amount of thrills, chills, and comedy to underscore the importance of saying "No" to threatening behavior—even if it was preceded by seemingly innocent fun. The layout of the book is well-suited to the ebullient art and lighthearted text. From start to finish, the spirits of Dr. Seuss and Maurice Sendak hover happily. Proudly shelve this near The Cat in the Hat and What Do You Say, Dear?
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
In this fun and roaring good picture book, Dunbar shares a story about a lion who gives the appearance of a dapper, polite fellow but reveals his true nature when he tries to turn his human hosts into dessert...This lively cautionary tale makes a engaging storytime selection.
—School Library Journal
The illustrations, composed in ink and paint, and rendered digitally, have a vintage feel and keep the overall tone from being too frightening. Children and adults may respond differently to this tale. The humorous aspects will entertain young readers, while adults could use the book as a model to talk to children about setting personal boundaries.
Clean, bouncy lines and bright pops of color in the ink-and-paint illustrations and entertaining language (“Is a lion still a lion if…he skips down the street singing ‘Hoobie-doobie- doo’?”) keep the story light even when the lion threatens to take a bite out of the children.
—The Horn Book