In the September/October 2013 Horn Book Magazine, reviewer K. T. Horning asked Chris Raschka about illustrating scary emotional situations in When Lions Roar. Read the review here.
K. T. Horning: For many young children, a roaring parent is even scarier than a roaring lion. How did you approach the challenge of depicting “When daddies yell!” and “When mommies holler!” in a book for preschoolers?
Chris Raschka: When the people who are the source of everything you have — I mean your parents — turn violent, even just in their voices and even when it is not directed at you, your whole world shakes. Depicting this in a true-enough fashion in When Lions Roar, making it meaningful for every reader without making it too upsetting for any particular reader, proved to be very difficult. The book as a whole went through many revisions as I (and when I say “I”, I mean “we” — Robie; Ken Geist, our editor; and David Saylor, our art director) worried about this. In the end, along with simplifying and abstracting most everything on these two pages, we faced the shouters away from the child and added the shouting little red flamelets, making it all something to look at and consider from a safe distance.