Barnett, Mac. Chloe and the Lion. Adam Rex, Illus. Pic. Bk. Hyperion, 2012. 48p. $16.99. 978-1-4231-1334-8. OUTSTANDING. GRADES K-5.
Readers know from the very beginning that this picture book will be a bit different. “This is me, Mac. I’m the author of this book,” waves a sweater-clad clay figure on the first page. Turn the page and you’ll see Mac’s friend Adam putting the finishing touches on Chloe, the main character of the book. One day, Chloe ends up wandering through the dark forest, lost on her way home from the park. Just then, “a huge lion leapt out from behind an oak tree.” But children will quickly see that the picture shows an enormous purple dragon, NOT a lion. Mac, the author, becomes very angry that Adam won’t follow his directions. Children will laugh as Mac attempts to draw his own pictures, as Chloe tries to talk some sense into Mac, and at the many fractured fairy tale references. But most of all, kids will love the bickering and final resolution as these two friends create a truly funny story by working together. Rex combines clay figures, acrylic paintings, drawn sets, and photographs to create the artwork. The words and pictures work together in perfect harmony, building on one another at each step. Throughout, the artwork heightens the humor just perfectly, helping readers feel the separation between the artists and the story.
Mary Ann Scheuer, Emerson School