My father and I settled in Africa in 1906...And it was there, as a small girl, I was eaten by a lion. So begins a true story from aviatrix Beryl Markham's autobiography. Here young Beryl and a "tame" lion called Paddy come together in an encounter that challenges our notions of wild and docile, trust and duplicity, punishment and forgiveness. Coupled with Don Brown's expressive watercolors, this book is a powerful story that will leave readers wondering about the true natures of man and beast. For ages 6-10.
Format: Hardcover Number of Pages: 32 Vendor: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publication Date: 2005 Dimensions: 11.00 X 8.75 (inches)
ISBN: 0618563067 ISBN-13: 9780618563067 Availability: In Stock Ages: 7-10
My father and I settled in Africa in 1906. . . . And it was there, as a small girl, I was eaten by a lion.
So begins a true story from aviatrix Beryl Markham’s autobiography. Here young Beryl and a tame” lion called Paddy come together in an encounter that challenges our notions of wild and docile, trust and duplicity, punishment and forgiveness. Coupled with Don Brown’s expressive watercolors, The Good Lion is a powerful story that will leave readers wondering about the true natures of man and beast.
Don Brown is the award-winning author and illustrator of many picture book biographies. He has been widely praised for his resonant storytelling and his delicate watercolor paintings that evoke the excitement, humor, pain, and joy of lives lived with passion. School Library Journal has called him a current pacesetter who has put the finishing touches on the standards for storyographies.” He lives in New York with his family.
School Library Journal
Gr 2-4-Markham included the story of her childhood encounter with a lion in
her autobiographical West with the Night (Farrar, 1982). Brown's adaptation of
it begins with a tantalizing premise that doesn't actually get much play as
later events move in a slow, dreamlike sequence. "My father and I settled in
East Africa in 1906-.And it was where, as a small girl, I was eaten by a
lion." The child and her father ride out to an estate where a tamed lion roams
free, and she goes off exploring. Brown's sketchy, homely watercolor views
include a few animals and trees against an otherwise barren landscape of earth
melding into orange sky. Beryl soon encounters the resting lion, calmly
stares him down, and goes on her way, unaware that he is now following her.
Help miraculously arrives from a Sikh tending horses in the deserted terrain.
Brown switches color tones for the anticlimactic attack, rescue, and loss of
freedom for the animal. The enlarged face of the prone child, her eyes and
mouth tight shut, painted in shades of purple, is the only close-up view of
her-otherwise she appears as a small, crudely sketched figure. Markham goes
quickly to the message of the tale, saying that this was a good lion, who did
his best at being tame, and that perhaps he shouldn't be blamed for his one
mistake and caged for the rest of his long days-a simplistic summation since
the lion had gone on to kill a horse, a bull, and a cow the same
evening.-Margaret Bush, Simmons College, Boston Copyright 2005 Reed Business
Brown (Odd Boy Out) brings to life a bold and enchanting girl, the young Beryl
Markham. Excerpted from West with the Night, the 1942 autobiography the
aviator wrote about her youth in East Africa, the text relates the events of a
visit she made with her father to the Elkington Farm, where Paddy, a
hand-raised lion, freely roams the estate. "A tame lion in an unnatural
lion,'' Markham's father warns her, "and whatever is unnatural is
untrustworthy." Brown's sepia-tinted watercolors impart information without
drawing attention to themselves. He portrays the narrator with a long brown
ponytail and gray trousers. She calls the lion "harmless"; still she
"remember[s] not to run," walking slowly past the giant cat when she finds him
in her path. A sequence of seven suspenseful pages-one per second of elapsed
time, seemingly-shows that Markham's father is right. "There was no sound or
wind. Even the lion made no sound as he came swiftly behind me. What followed
was my scream that was barely a whisper." During the few moments the lion
actually traps her, Brown's golden spreads turn to cold shadows of purple and
blue; then, as help quickly arrives, the pictures turn sunny again. "Paddy had
lived and died in ways not of his choosing," Markham concludes, with
unexpected compassion. Her reverence for the majesty of Nature-even its
predatory creatures-will not be lost on young readers. Ages 6-10. (Sept.)
Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
" . . . This testimony is a compelling insight into the wild." Horn Book
"A vivid real-life story with a memorable message." Kirkus Reviews