The Lion

illus. by Federico Bertolucci. 80p. (Love). Magnetic Pr. Jun. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781942367093.
Gr 6 Up—Brrémaud continues his series (previous books include The Tiger and The Fox) with this visually stunning wordless tale of a lion searching for his pride. The author takes readers deep into the Serengeti, as the lion passes many animal families who look at him with hostility. Brrémaud makes sharp comparisons between the lion's situation and homelessness, underscoring how primal survival is. The art pulls readers in and keeps the plot moving through close-ups of the animals' expressions. Nothing is sugarcoated: hunger pains, gory kills, desperation, fear, and loneliness are showcased. There are also playful moments: cubs playing with an armadillo or tugging on an adult lion's whiskers. The muted colors dramatically evoke a harsh sense of realism and match the mood of the work perfectly. There are many classroom connections, and literature classes could use this visual narrative as a starting point for writing prompts. There is one potentially confusing moment, where one lion falls off a cliff while the protagonist lion is fighting off other lions; it might take some students a few close reads to distinguish between the two lions.
VERDICT Recommended for graphic novel collections, especially those where the previous two titles are popular.

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