Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

How to Hide a Lion

Stephens, Helen (Author/Illustrator)
Macmillan 2013. 32 pages
First published: 2012
ISBN: 9780805098341 (hardcover)
Original language: English
Book type: Picture Book

Text Elements:

character

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

When a lion is a chased out of town and takes refuge in a little girl’s playhouse, Iris, “who wasn’t scared of lions,” decides to conceal him in her room. When her parents discover the lion, they are frightened, forcing him to run off and hide. The lion shows his true nature when he foils a robbery at the town hall (“I told you he was a kind lion”) and is finally accepted by the community.

Language is simple and straightforward, with minimal dialogue and only an occasional “AARGH!” or “ROAR!” The light touch communicates an important message about making judgments based on first impressions.

The hiding of the lion creates much of the humour of the story, as in Iris’s desperate attempt to keep him out of sight behind the shower curtain while she and Mom brush their teeth, or when the lion hides in plain sight, as the third lion in a two-lion town monument. The illustrations highlight the special relationship between the little girl and the lion; Iris can see beyond his oversized body and big paws as she gives him hugs and tends to his sore paw.

The narrative is playful, but may well spark some serious talk about prejudice and stereotyping.

  •  

    Discuss the title of the story. Where might you hide a lion?

  •  Do you think the townspeople treat the lion fairly? Explain your thinking.
  •  Read a non-fiction book about lions. Compare and contrast the lion in the story with a real lion. Use a graphic organizer to record your ideas.
  •  Pretend you are a newscaster telling the story of the lion on the evening news. Include all the important events from the book.
  •  Brainstorm what you know about lions.
  •  

    On a picture walk, discuss the setting, the family and the lion’s hiding places.

  •  

    Compare and contrast the story lion to a real one. Express your findings in a Venn diagram.

  •  

    Discuss and list what makes for a good friend and what friends can do together. Using photos or drawings of you and a friend, write about why you are friends and explain some of your shared activities. Use ideas from the class list.

  • To construct his/her identity
  • To cooperate with others
  • To exercise critical judgment
  • Citizenship and Community Life
  • Lions (K. Riggs) (Background Knowledge)