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If I Were a Lion

by Sarah Weeks
Illustrated by Heather M. Solomon

Published by Atheneum, 2004
32 pages
ISBN: 0-689-84836-6

Ages 3 - 6

When her mother sends her to the time-out chair for behaving “wild,” a small girl with a big imagination spends her confinement cataloging what it really means to be wild. “If I were a lion, I’d growl and roar and knock the dishes on the floor. . . Wild has feathers. Wild has scales. Wild has whiskers, tusks and tails.” Trait after trait, the girl builds a case in her mind for her own defense against her mother’s misguided perception. “Mother doesn’t realize that lions don’t apologize. But when she does, then she will see, the opposite of wild is . . . me.” Sarah Weeks uses rhyme, rhythm, and alliteration to pace her lively story. Heather Solomon’s watercolor and gouache illustrations add a marvelous dimension to the antics of the text. Her realistic depictions of many animals engaged in their natural behavior within the child’s house are delightful (raccoons are napping in the coatrack, crocodiles are snapping below, goats are eating the curtains, a sheep nibbles on a plant). At the same time, the crayonlike scribbles on the walls give a clue as to the real source of at least some of the chaos within this home. CCBC categories: Picture Books for Toddlers and Preschoolers. 2004, Atheneum, 32 pages, $15.95. Ages 3-6.  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

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