Lion Lessons

Lion Lessons
Jon Agee
Scallywag Press

When the boy narrator protagonist of this story decides to take lion lessons, he quickly discovers that despite the ‘7 easy steps’ claim in the window of the teaching establishment, the diploma course is a steep learning curve.

The teacher is an actual lion with a degree awarded by the Harvard School of Claw and before starting on the ‘steps’, the learner must first engage in some yoga stretches.

Thereafter though, things rapidly go downhill. The teacher is less than impressed at his pupil’s efforts at appearing fierce. Roaring, selecting stomach-filling fare, prowling,

sprinting and pouncing are equally far from promising. In fact the lad’s scores are well below par.

Then comes the seventh step: Looking Out for Your Friends. Could this be the game changer perhaps …

Maybe, just maybe our small student can grow in stature and discover his inner lion sufficiently to surpass our expectations and become the proud owner of that graduation Lion Diploma after all …

What an artful fusion of words and pictures. With its deliciously droll, punchy narrative and littering of splendidly comic details on every spread, Lion Lessons will keep listeners on the edge of their seats right up to its deadpan final twist.

A simply stupendous, superbly paced read aloud say I; Jon Agee does it again.

Don’t Go There!

Don’t Go There!
Jeanne Willis and Hrefna Bragadottir
Andersen Press

A small human is tasked with toilet training a small green alien when she discovers him in her home one day.

The little fellow has no idea that it’s totally inappropriate to direct his wee towards the narrator’s painting easel …

or leave deposits of poo in the bird bath.

So the little girl takes her new friend into the bathroom and shows him the toilet.

The little Martian is resistant to using such a cold, deep object and runs off in search of a more likely receptacle.

Several tries later, it’s time to march the little guy back to the bathroom and start toilet training in earnest. “Lid up,/ pants down, / bottom on the seat. Sit still, / just chill, / until the job’s complete. / Whistle if you want to. / Singing can be fun. / Wipe, flush, wash hands, / then you’re done!” goes the Toilet Song the narrator sings.

The Martian’s effort doesn’t quite sound (or look) quite the same however but he does his very best,

even though his pants do end up being flushed down the loo.

Eventually of course, with lots of practice, he does get it right.

In the reassuring penultimate spread the narrator uses the success of her alien friend to assure little humans they too can learn the ropes; and then, once he’s back on his own planet, the little chap has a job to do …

Little ones and their adults will assuredly giggle at all the mistakes and mishaps that befall teacher and learner in this enchanting, light-hearted alien twist on toilet training.

Jeanne’s bouncy rhyming text is great fun and reassuring too, while Hrefna Bragadottir’s slightly muted, comical illustrations ensure that there will be plenty of shared laughs during this nicely flowing learning journey.