Leonard is a lion. He knows that lions are supposed to be fierce, they are supposed to chomp you and they are not supposed to write poems, but he chooses to be different. However, when he befriends a duck called Marianne, the other lions think he has gone too far.
Leaving the other lions behind, Leonard and Marianne go to their thinking hill where after thinking hard and humming a serious hum, they come up with a poem to explain that everyone should be themselves.
Although completely different, Marianne and Leonard develop a wonderful friendship, enjoying each others company, doing the things that they want to do. The illustrations of the two strolling along together or sitting gazing at the stars are simply delightful.
Leonard is also a fantastic male role model- big, powerful and brave, but not afraid to be gentle and creative. He is prepared to stick by his friend rather than following the pack. Leonard is able to show his feelings and share his thoughts, discussing his problems rather than getting angry or using force. The picture of Leonard hanging his head with the dark background is perfect for starting discussions about feelings as are his questions, 'Must I be fierce?', 'Must I change?'.
The images are bold and uncluttered with strong backgrounds, making this visually appealing as well as a story with a powerful message.Just brilliant!
How to Be a Lion Ed Vere
Penguin ISBN: 978-0141376363