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Christian, the Hugging Lion


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Richardson and Parnell, the writing team behind And Tango Makes Three, turn to another heartwarming real-life animal story in this retelling, the second picture book to star Christian, following 2009's Christian the Lion. In subtly evocative prose, the authors emphasize storytelling as they hit the major plot points of the now familiar story: Ace and John's discovery of the lion cub in a cage at Harrods, Christian's adventures and growing pains in London ("Christian became a very well-behaved little cub. Most of the time"), the eventual delivery of the lion to Kenya, and the trio's climactic reunion when Ace and John return to find Christian grown-up and with cubs of his own. With a dramatic leap, Christian rejoins his friends in a jubilant embrace that fills an entire wordless spread. Playing off the understated text to humorous effect, Bates (Hillary Rodham Clinton: Dreams Taking Flight) contributes balmy watercolor, gouache, and pencil illustrations that highlight Christian's playfulness, as he sprawls out on Ace and John's sofa or gives "clumsy" hugs at the pub. It's a tender and particularly kid-friendly version of Christian's story. Ages 4-8. (Apr.) Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.

K-Gr 3-When Ace and John find a lion cub for sale at a famous English department store, they buy him, take him back to their apartment, and name him Christian. The young men take him for walks, play with him in a churchyard, and go on beach picnics with him. When Christian grows too large for their apartment, his owners fly him to Kenya where Mr. Adamson will teach him-as he has taught other lions-to live in the wild. They learn that Christian has cubs of his own and fly to Kenya to see him one more time. In a series of near-wordless illustrations that capture the joy of the real-life reunion video that appeared on the Internet in 2008, the friends meet again. They spend the night together "cozy and snug and, of course, hugging." An authors' note explains that all events are true, fills in more details, and mentions the now-famous video. Illustrations are done in watercolor, gouache, and pencil. Young readers may want to see actual photographs of the three friends in Anthony "Ace" Bourke and John Rendall's Christian the Lion (Delacorte, 2009). This book will be a popular choice among the many youngsters who have bonded with their own pets.-Mary Jean Smith, Southside Elementary School, Lebanon, TN Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.

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