*Starred Review* When Lions Roar
By Robie H. Harris. Illus. by Chris Raschka
Oct. 2013. 32p. Scholastic/Orchard, $16.99 (9780545112833). PreS–K.
First published August, 2013 (Booklist).
Harris and Raschka elegantly tackle a common childhood emotion in this pitch-perfect book for the youngest child. ―When lions roar! / When monkeys screech! / When lightening cracks! / When thunder booms!,‖ it’s scary, and the sources of the fear can feel very close and very threatening. After becoming overwhelmed by a series of events, a little boy sits down, closes his eyes, and tells the scary to ―Go away.‖ Quiet starts to return, as flowers bloom, puppies cuddle, and mommies and daddies, who have their scary moments too, are back to their singing and dancing selves. Sure, it’s simplistic, but it’s also a powerful message about positive thinking: a change in perspective influences how we experience our environment. It’s possible that no one conveys emotion better than Raschka and, with the curve of an eyebrow or the posturing of a body, we know exactly what the boy is thinking and feeling. Similarly, simple backgrounds depict footsteps and fear clouds or offer exuberant swirls of excitement and speak volumes about the boy’s state-of-mind. Paired with Robie’s simple text, this reassures children that facing your fears can have truly transformative results. —Ann Kelley
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