Thursday, April 28, 2011

Christian, The Hugging Lion

By Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell, illustrated by Amy June Bates

From the duo that brought us the wonderful "And Tango Makes Three" comes another true story, about a two-guy couple, Ace and John, who rescue a baby lion, Christian, from a fancy department store and raise him in their apartment.

And the three of them become a family.

"Most of all, Christian loved being with Ace and John. The three of them had become the most unusual family in all of London."

But of course, Christian is a lion, who grows... and grows... and grows!

Pretty soon they realize that Christian should go back to the wild. And they take him there. And he roars for the first time!

Back in London, Ace and John miss Christian's hugs.

They fly back to Kenya to try to find Christian, and they do.

And when the now wild lion, all grown up and with cubs of his own sees them, what does he do?

(detail of one of the beautiful interior pages)

He hugs them!

It's a heartwarming story with a great message that love is what makes a family. There's nothing overt about Ace and John being in love, but then again there's nothing overt about Madge and Bernie Wubbington being in love in the Chowder books. Chowder is a book about a dog and his loving humans, just like Christian, The Hugging Lion is about this lion and his loving humans. The fact that they're clearly a couple and both men doesn't change the truth that the love is the very same thing.

This is truly a picture book that I wish had been read to me when I was a little kid.

Have I convinced you to get this book and read it to a child you love yet? (And don't forget your own inner child!) Well, this should clinch it. Watch this actual video footage of Ace, John and Christian, the Hugging Lion:



Hayden Thorne said...

I bawl my eyes out every time I watch that video. Sigh.

Unknown said...

Oh my gosh. So touching. I don't keep up with the children's book sphere as well as I should. Thanks for giving me the ones I need to check out.