Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Willoughby and the Lion - Greg Foley

For: young kids
Published: 2009
Rating: 3
Read: 2-25-09 B&N
Endpapers: Front: One shiny black, the other shiny white
Back: Golden cardboard coin embedded into a black palm on the inside back cover, facing a gold page

This is a very gold book. It's on shiny white pages drawn entiely in black and metallic gold. Simple black lines.

Willouighby moves away to a small house near no friends. But in his empty back yard, sitting on a big rock, is an enchanted gold lion. He tells Willoughby that he'll grant him ten (10!) wishes, but unless he wishes for the most wonderful thing of all, the poor lion willl be stuck on the rock forever. Willoughby enjoys his daily requests for concrete things - a palace, a roller coaster, fast shoes, sweets, even a pair of x-ray glasses and an ancient set of books that would answer all his homework questions. But before his tenth wish, he tries to cheer up the lion. They tell stories and talk and laugh. It makes Willoughby think - a his tenth wish, whispered into the lion's ear, will, of course, be the one that freed the lion. A TRUE FRIEND. That's the wish. Then we turn to the back cover and the golden coin, mentioned above.

The book is a great idea, but I don't think Mr. Foley nailed it. He needed to spend an extra page - at least - creating more of a friendship between Willoughby and the lion...or something. Something was missing. A good attempt, though.


Anonymous said...

Over spring break I read this book with my nephews, ages 8 and 10. The boys were entranced with the intricate art, the shiny gold pages, and the ten wishes. The eight year old didn't guess the tenth wish, but the ten year old did. I think the author developed the relationship between the lion and Willoughby just right for the target age group. As a librarian and a teacher, I loved the book. Indeed at the end of the first reading, tears welled in my eyes. And, the boys were tickled with the gold coin. Only problem -- I needed two coins!

MaumeeLibrarian said...

The thing I liked best about the book is the dedication:

"For you."


Frances Klein Malina said...

I love this book! For it's smart and incredibly executed illustration to the strong ending.

I read the last wish as being either for everything to go back to the way it was, or that he gave up all the other wishes for the lion to be free.

The choice is an important one and Willoughby makes the selfless decision to set the lion free.

It's a super book and I look forward to seeing what other adventures through rich visual territory that Willoughby will take me on.