Instead of a review or commentary today, here is a poem about some famous literary lions in children’s books. They each have to accommodate themselves to a different situation or environment and socialize with non-lions. The illustrations for each book imagine their confused and incongruent status. But don’t worry—either with human help or without it, they are all fine in the end.
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz – L. Frank Baum, illustrated by W.W. Denslow, originally published 1900; Reprint edition: Dover Children’s Evergreen Classics, 1996
The Happy Lion – Louise Fatio, illustrated by Roger Duvoisin, originally published 1954; Reprint edition: Dragonfly Books, 2015
Dandelion – Don Freeman, Puffin Books, 1977
How to Hide a Lion – Helen Stephens, Henry Holt and Co., 2013
A Lion in Paris – Beatrice Alemagna, Tate (translation edition), 2014
Every king has descendants.
The Happy Lion leaves his cage,
puzzled by the chaos,
of baguettes and purses
flying in fear.
Don’t try to be what you’re not,
as Dandelion learned
from a bad haircut and a
A how-to book,
the improbable task being
how to hide a royal feline in
a small village
when you are wearing a red dress.
A Lion in Paris
sneaking past the Mona Lisa
and reversing vertigo
on the Eiffel tower,
Pick up some courage
Not to hide
From neighbors, Cousins,
Not from anyone.