Picture books about lions always end up being my favourites. The Stone Lion, A Lion in Paris, The Snow Lion and now I can add How To Be a Lion to the mighty list. Something to do with all that courage, I guess. Leonard the lion is not your ordinary lion. He would rather daydream and write poetry than do the things that normal lions do.

Ed Vere is a master of witty picture books that offer just as much for adults as they do for children. This is a great read aloud text that will amuse any room full of kids with hilarious language and illustrations. However chiefly, it has such a gentle, beautiful message about quiet ones being loud. It will speak to those kids that often wait in the shadows and pause while the rowdiest of us do all the talking. A powerful message that sings to my introverted heart. Although, my absolute favourite part of the book is the sheer jubilance seen on Leonard’s face as he scooters past his ducky friend. Brilliant.


The obvious themes to explore are being yourself, courage, difference, friendships, standing up to bullying and stereotypes. The empowering discussions will wash through the room- let them happen. Hopefully the thoughtful voices will take their time to speak. Enough said.

I’d also use this text to compare and contrast with others that offer similar themes. When studying Character, look at how Leonard believes in his ability to be different and compare him to the lions in other texts, contrast him with more stereotypical lions from classic literature like Aslan from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Take it further and make comparisons between characters that follow similar journeys of identity crisis– you could even look at how he relates to Augie from Wonder.

When studying Point of View, analyse how the duck might feel when the lion pride arrive and tell the story from her point of view. Have the children debate or write persuasive texts from the point of view of the lion pride convincing Leonard to be a fierce lion, just like them.

The possibilities for embodiment and drama are endless. I’m excited to see some fierce but quiet, lion roars! Enjoy this beautiful picture book as much as I did. It’s an absolute treasure. Thank you, Ed Vere, I’m off to find my own thinking hill.



The Fog by Kyo Maclear

The Fog by Kyo Maclear and Kenard Pak is one of the most beautifully written and illustrated books I’ve read this year (even though it was published in 2017). The stunning words were enough alone to make me take this one home, but Pak’s dreamy water colour illustrations make the fog come to life perfectly. A charming story about friendship and longing for a once known world all told through Maclear’s quirky Warble, who spends his days human-watching. Both the warbler and the red-hooded, spectacled girl work together to make a change in their world.


With its underlying message, The Fog will delight older readers as they figure out what the fog represents in their own world. Once we delight in the magic of the story (always honour the author’s intent), I will be using this precious book in my classroom. Have the readers respond to what they believe the fog could represent and how change has impacted the world in which we live. Discussions will roll around the room about hope and change and how the Warbler noticed things that his neighbours did not. A perfect text to use when looking at the English Textual Concepts of Representation, Perspective and Imagery and Symbol.

So subtle in words and pictures, I already know that The Fog will be a class favourite this year. I can’t wait to get back to school to read it to the kiddos.


Don’t miss the beautiful end papers displaying the little Warbler’s human-watching field notes. I wish the Warbler had seen me and my loved ones in the fog.

The Fog by Kyo Maclear




And so I begin again.
This time with books.

Kids’ books! Picture books, novels for young readers, YA, graphic novels, poetry for children, classic literature and more picture books. I will be sharing little reviews and how I use the beautiful books I have overflowing on my book shelves in my classroom. Mostly, it will be a way for me to document, as I have always done. I spend a lot of time reading kids books, so I might as well share some of the things I do with them. My hope is that someone might discover a new book and share it with their kids or the kids they teach. Happy reading!