Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The Story of An Ordinary Lion

In The Story of an Ordinary Lion, by Janet Doolaege, Leo is a lion living in the desert. One day, after suffering a thorn stuck in his paw, a winged lion comes to him in a vision and tells him to go to a nearby monastery. There he will be well cared for.

Leo limps his way to the monastery where he is met with fear and amazement by everyone except Father Jerome. Father Jerome removes the thorn and tells Leo he can stay as long as he likes.

Leo’s paw heals quickly. He decides he likes it at the monastery and has no real wish to leave. He is given the task of guarding Rebecca, the donkey, when she is out hauling firewood for the monks. When Rebecca comes up missing, Leo is accused of killing her and eating her. He is, after all, a lion. But he didn’t do it. How can he convince the monks that he’s innocent?

Only a few colored pictures by Paolo Santoro are scattered through the text, but they are all nicely done.

What I Like: I really like the illustrations. I also like the main theme of the story, that no one and nobody is really ordinary.

What I Dislike: However, having said that, I must point out that the author tries to cover many themes in the story. He mentions the importance of accuracy when translating scriptures, forgiveness, and friendship. He also throws in the idea of logic, winged lions and angels. While all of these are good topics and themes, they just seem like too much to deal with in the same book, especially for children.

Also, the author uses the word “caravanserai” in the text, but that word is never defined. I don’t know what it means. Do you?

And, she uses the phrase “…we ran hell for leather…” which doesn’t seem very appropriate for a book of this nature.

Overall Rating: Good.

Age Appeal: 6-12.

Publisher Info: New Generation Publishing, 2014; ISBN: 9781785070242; Paperback, 112 pages, $11.99.

The Kindle version is also available for $2.99.

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