How to Hide a Lion at Christmas by Helen Stephens

Published: 4th October 2018Goodreads badge
Alison Green Books
Illustrator: Helen Stephens
Pages: 40
Format: Picture Book
★   ★   ★  – 3 Stars

A charming holiday picture book about a girl, her pet lion, and a Christmas adventure.

Iris and her lion go everywhere together. But when Christmas comes and the family is going away, Mum says the lion must stay behind. After all, you can’t take a lion on a train. Luckily the lion has other ideas. He sets off on a festive, snowy adventure to find Iris—and almost bumps into Santa Claus!

This is the Christmas edition of How to Hide a Lion and in this story we see Iris face the challenge of hiding her lion once more because lions can’t go on trains and therefore cannot come with them to visit Auntie Sarah.

It’s a very sweet book. It’s fun to see Iris attempt to hide her lion but can’t quite make it work. Iris’ lion doesn’t want to make her sad by being left behind so he sets off to join them on their Christmas. Having not read the original book or others in the series first I was slightly underwhelmed, but I’ve since read the first book which is more substantial and this makes this a nice addition to the series of Iris’s numerous adventures of having to hide her lion.

You don’t need to have read the original per se, it’s easily accepted that Iris has a lion and no understanding of how this came about is required, but I did feel like it was missing something. Having now read the original story I can see the themes Stephens uses here which connect it to the original. But even beyond that, there is a sweet story about a lion not wanting his friend to be lonely and setting off to make sure she has a nice Christmas, albeit with a few mishaps on the way. It doesn’t need to be any more complicated than that.

I enjoyed this because there is a lion in it, which is an easy way to gain my approval over anything, but beyond that it’s also a nice, fun story. Stephens’ illustrations are bright and colourful, the mixture of full page and small illustrations suit the story and helps convey the narrative being told. Her style is simple but still full of detail, and the scenes through the book tell their own story.

I think I will have to track down more of Iris’ adventures because seeing the humorous and creative ways she tries to hide her lion, I’d love to see more of her attempts and see what mischief they get up to in the meantime.

You can purchase How to Hide a Lion at Christmas via the following

QBD | Booktopia | Book Depository

Dymocks | Angus and Robinson

 Fishpond | Amazon | Amazon Aust

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