Saturday, April 15, 2023

*Review* The Lion's Whisker by Rebecca Sheir

Genre: Children's 5-8
Published: May 23, 2023
Pages: 44 

Filled with vibrant folk art and thoughtful lessons, this picture book rooted in Ethiopian folktales reveals the power of patience, understanding, and sibling love.

Courage, collaboration, patience, and sibling love prevail in this folktale with its roots in the Ethiopian tradition. The Lion's Whisker tells the story of Brother and Sister who are constantly arguing. When Grandmother sends them on a dangerous mission to pluck a lion's whisker for her magical potion, the siblings learn valuable lessons about the strength gained by working together, being brave, and showing patience and understanding for others. This classic folktale is brought to life for today’s kids by Rebecca Sheir—creator and host of the award-winning Circle Round storytelling podcast­—with the vibrant and modern folk art of Kenyan illustrator Nikita Abuya. Beloved for their lively storytelling and modern adaptations of values-based tales from around the world, Circle Round bring their wildly popular adaptation of Brother and Sister’s story to colorful picture-book form. Once kids and families have read The Lion's Whisker, resources in the back prompt further exploration of the tale, with conversation questions and creative storytelling prompts and activities. 

I received a copy of this book through Netgalley. This is my honest review. 

This is a folktale from Africa, which means it's one I was not already familiar with. This is the story of a brother and sister who just cannot get along with one another. They don't share their toys or food, and they argue constantly. Finally one day their grandmother is fed up with it and suggests that they go find a lion's whisker to make a special potion to help them get along. The sister is much more interested in this than her brother, but he follows her as she tries to lull the lion into trusting her. They eventually work together and manage to get a whisker from the lion. 

The illustrations were bright with solid colors. They definitely helped to show the story as it progressed, even if it does give them impression that you can safely talk to a lion (danger kitty!). I'd definitely be okay reading this book a few times because they message is a great one for anyone with more than one child, especially if they struggle to get alone. Overall I give this book 4.12 out of 5 stars. - Katie 

Rebecca Sheir is the author of the Circle Round books The Tale of the Unwelcome GuestA Taste of Honey, and The Great Ball Game, and the host, writer, and producer of the Circle Round storytelling podcast. Distributed by WBUR (Boston's NPR station), Circle Round is heard in all 50 states and nearly 200 countries and has been featured in the New York TimesThe Washington Post, and TIME. Sheir has also brought thousands of stories to life as a news reporter on public-radio shows like Morning EditionAll Things ConsideredHere & NowThe Splendid Table, and Marketplace. She lives in western Massachusetts with her husband and son.   

Nikita Abuya is a digital illustrator and graphic designer from Nairobi, Kenya. Her work celebrates the current generation in pop culture and fashion, as well as aspects from her African heritage.

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