About the Holiday
Today’s holiday was established by Big Cat Rescue, the world’s largest sanctuary dedicated to Big Cats, to raise awareness of the dwindling number of lions and promote action to save them. Because of hunting, habitat destruction, and other environmental and manmade dangers, the lion has been placed on the endangered species list. To observe World Lion Day, visit a preserve or sanctuary if you live near one or read up on lions and consider donating to their protection.
The Lion Inside
Written by Rachel Bright | Illustrated by Jim Field
“In a dry, dusty place where / the sand sparkled gold, / Stood a mighty flat rock / all craggy and old.” Way down below in a chink in the rock a little brown mouse lived in the tiniest house. He was so small and meek that no one noticed him—Ever. The other animals stepped on him and sat on him and forgot all about him when they got together.
On top of the rock sat a fierce lion. He had very sharp teeth and a very loud roar that made sure everyone knew how important he was. “Yes, ALL were impressed / by this mighty King Cat. / ‘If only,’ thought mouse, / ‘I could be more like that.’” Then one night it hit him—he should have his own roar. “With a little more Grrrr / and a little less meek” he’d make lots of friends, the mouse thought.
The mouse determined right then to learn how to roar, but he knew that the only one who could teach him might gobble him up. He decided it was time to be brave. As he began his long climb to the top of the rock, he was nervous and scared, but he knew that “if you want things to change, / you first have to change you.” When he got to the top. he found the lion sleeping. Standing nose-to-nose with the big cat, he squeaked out his request. The lion woke up, took a long look, and then “opened his mouth and let out an Eeeeak!” The lion shook with fear and begged the mouse not to hurt him.
The mouse told the lion he didn’t need to be scared. They could work together and have some fun. In that moment the mouse found his true voice. He discovered he didn’t need to roar or shout to be heard. And the lion learned that it was okay to be friends with the other animals. Now the mouse and the lion share the big rock, and when the lion roars it’s “with laughter instead.”
Rachel Bright’s jaunty rhyming story about embracing your true nature is sure to enchant kids who are learning to find their place within various groups. As the mouse and the lion discover, size and volumn don’t define importance or influence. Kindness, friendship, and self-confidence are what matter most. Sprinkled with squeaks, grrrrs, gulps, and roars, the story will have little ones giggling and reading along.
Jim Field’s tiny mouse with elephantine ears is adorable and sweetly determined as he decides to bravely confront the lion. Young readers will laugh as the once strutting and roaring lion is left quivering at the sight of the mouse. Kids will also enjoy pointing out that the rock the mouse and lion share is itself shaped like a lion. Field’s palette of golds and browns reflects the sun-drenched savannah while the mouse’s house, painted in vibrant red and yellow, hints at the individualistic creature who lives inside.
The Lion Inside is a great book to share within a classroom at the beginning of the year or anytime. It also makes a fine addition to home bookshelves to remind kids to celebrate what they’re made of.
Ages 3 – 6
Scholastic, 2016 | ISBN 978-0545873505
View a gallery of books and artwork by Rachel Bright on her website!
World Lion Day Activity
Spoon Lion Puppet
With a round, wooden spoon, you can make a ROARingly cute lion puppet or decoration!
- Wooden mixing spoon
- Yellow Fleece
- Brown felt
- Colorful Fleece or felt
- Fabric glue
- Light brown marker
- Dark brown marker
- Hot glue gun or super glue
To make the lion’s face
- Draw a nose, mouth, and eyes on the front/bowl of the spoon
To make the mane
- Measure the rim of the spoon from one side of the handle to the other
- Cut a strip of yellow fleece as long as rim measurement and 4 inches wide
- Fold the piece of fleece in half long-ways
- Glue the open edges of the fleece together
- Along the folded side cut a fringe, leaving the loops intact
To make the ears
- Cut round ears from the brown felt.
Assembling the lion
- Glue the ears to the back of the spoon
- Glue the mane to the back of the spoon
To make the bow
- Cut a 3-inch x 1 ½-inch piece of colorful fleece or felt
- Cut a long thin strip of fleece or felt
- Pinch the bow in the middle and tie with the longer piece of cloth. Trim as necessary
- Glue the bow to the handle
To make the tail
- Cut three thin 4-inch-long strips of yellow fleece
- With fabric glue, glue the tops of the strips together
- Braid the strips
- At the bottom, glue the strips together, leaving the ends free
- Fold the top of the tail and push it into the hole in the handle of the spoon
Picture Book Review