School Library Journal - Leopold the Lion
School Library Journal (Sep 2015)
Jack and Ella discover a lion doing somersaults on their backyard trampoline and want to keep him. While the siblings easily sneak the wild feline past their distracted parents, their grandpa knowingly quips, “Doesn’t look like an indoor cat to me.” After Leopold is fed a misguided diet of junk food, his fur becomes knotted and the sparkle goes out of his eyes. His physical prowess is also dulled by hours of languidly playing on mobile devices. Barshaw’s ink and watercolor cartoon illustrations drive home the message by showing the former king of the jungle lolling supine on the floor surrounded by empty snack wrappers and pop bottles. When reunited with his circus family, Leopold is unable to do his trademark tricks and is unceremoniously ousted. Jack and Ella bring him back home and, this time, provide a nutritious regime of “freeze-dried wildebeest” and plenty of rigorous exercise. VERDICT A whimsical story that could spark healthy living discussions.