From the New York Times bestselling author/illustrator of Max the Brave comes an inspiring and adorable picture book about a pair of unlikely friends who face down a pack of bullies.
In this timely and charming story about the importance of being true to yourself, mindfulness, and standing by your friends, we meet Leonard, a lion, and his best friend Marianne, a . . . duck. Leonard and Marianne have a happy life together—talking, playing, writing poems, and making wishes—until one day a pack of bullies questions whether it's right for a lion and a duck to be pals. Leonard soon learns there are many ways to be a lion, and many ways to be a friend, and that sometimes finding just the right words can change the world . . .
This sweet, funny, thoughtful, and much-needed story will open up readers' eyes to the importance of being who they are and not backing down to hurtful criticism. It's an empowering tale about connecting with others and choosing kindness over bullying, and shows children how angry and provocative words can be overcome by empathy and inner courage.
Nominated for the 2019 Kate Greenaway Medal and the 2019 Carnegie Medal
A Bank Street College of Education Best Children's Book of the Year
An American Booksellers Association E.B. White Read-Aloud Honor Book
An NPR Best Books of 2018 selection
A New York Public Library Best Books of 2018 selection
★ "Positive role models showing boys how to be a whole person are few and far between these days. This marvelous book triumphs in that essential job."—Kirkus, starred review
"Children will feel empowered after reading such a deliberate story of unyielding strength and self-awareness. Thoughtful and provocative words to live by."—School Library Journal
"A gentle, Ferdinand-like soul. . . . Vere's fable makes a watertight—and charming—case for ignoring the pressures of conformity."—Publishers Weekly
"The spirit of Ferdinand the Bull is a alive and well in How to Be a Lion."—NPR
"gently reminiscent of Winnie the Pooh"—BookTrust
Some people think there's only one way to be a lion, but Leonard is different. A gentle, Ferdinand-like soul, he's likely to be found on his "thinking hill," pondering and making poems. Lions usually devour ducks, but when Leonard meets web-footed Marianne, he asks for help with a poem he's writing, and the two become close friends, taking long walks and looking at the stars. When bullying lions try to intimidate Leonard into behaving the way other lions do ("Not chomping a duck? You've gone too far!"), Leonard and Marianne collaborate on a declaration in verse: "If there must be a must,/ then this we must try.../ Why don't you, be you.../ And I, will be I." The story's confiding, narrative voice draws readers in close, while bold, scrabbly ink lines by British author-illustrator Vere (the Max picture books) add life and giggles to Leonard and Marianne's friendship. Vere's fable makes a watertight and charming case for ignoring the pressures of conformity. Ages 4 8. \n