Subscribe to The Horn Book

Review of When Lions Roar

When Lions Roar
by Robie H. Harris; illus. by Chris Raschka
Preschool     Orchard/Scholastic     32 pp.
10/13     978-0-545-11283-3     $16.99     g

A young child (of indeterminate gender) is frightened by loud noises on a trip to the zoo — from screeching monkeys and booming thunder to yelling parents and blaring sirens, each one simply described using the pattern seen in the title (“When big dogs bark!”; “When lightning cracks!”; etc.). Raschka’s crayon and watercolor illustrations, using flat colors in orange, blue, green, and yellow, take the child through “the scary” until he/she is able to find calming spaces. Raschka once again shows his remarkable skill at using line and color to illustrate abstract concepts for young children. At the same time, his pictures provide a narrative context that’s not obvious in the text itself: when a mom and a dad take their timid child to the zoo, they are hit by a sudden thunderstorm. The child’s coping mechanism of drawing in, closing eyes, and telling the scary to “Go away!” is a skill any child can learn in order to calm himself…although it might not always make the sun come out quite so quickly as it does here.

From the September/October 2013 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Kathleen T. Horning About Kathleen T. Horning

Kathleen T. Horning is the director of the Cooperative Children’s Book Center, a library of the School of Education, University of Wisconsin–Madison. She is the author of From Cover to Cover: Evaluating and Reviewing Children’s Books and teaches a popular online course for ALSC on the history of the Newbery and Caldecott medals.

Comment Policy:
  1. Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  2. Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  3. Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through (though some comments with links to multiple URLs are held for spam-check moderation by the system). If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.

We accept clean XHTML in comments, but don't overdo it and please limit the number of links submitted in your comment. For more info, see the full Terms of Use.

Speak Your Mind