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Lee, Dennis.

Illustrated by Marie-Louise Gay. Don Mills (Ont.), Stoddart, c1984. unpaged, paperbound boards, $8.95, ISBN 0-7737-0078-1. CIP

Pre-School-Grade 2
Reviewed by Adele M. Fasick

Volume 13 Number 2
1985 March

Dennis Lee can do no wrong when it comes to writing rhymes for small children. Unlike his earlier successes, Lizzy's Lion is a single narrative, rather than a collection of poems. Intrepid Lizzy shares her bedroom with a lion, who is neither friendly nor tame, but who responds to those who know his "secret lion name." One night, a robber tries to steal Lizzy's piggybank, and attempts to placate the lion by offering candy. But the lion does not respond well:

And he muttered, "Candy?-piffle!" And he rumbled, "Candy?-pooh!"

And he gave the rotten robber An experimental chew.

Children will be delighted with the lion's ferocious attack on the robber, although parents may look askance at the way in which Lizzy and the lion dispose of his remains:

Then old Lizzy and her Lion Took the toes & turn & head,

And they put them in the garbage, And they both went back to bed.

Adults who worry about the morality of chewing up a robber, however rotten, might consider Chesterfields often-quoted comment, that "children are innocent and love justice; while most of us are wicked and naturally prefer mercy." The story is accompanied by Marie-Louise Gay's lively illustrations, which capture the majesty of the lion and the grotesque fear of the "rotten robber."

Adele M. Fasick, Faculty of Library and Information Science, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ont.
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