May 2020. 40p. Abrams, $16.99 (9781419742248). PreS–Gr. 2
In a hilarious psychological tug-of-war, a lion tells his son he has to get a haircut, while the shaggy cub resists—and not because he’s scared. The father goes about addressing the many potential fears associated with haircuts—of scissors, of razors, of looking like an antelope—but after the cub cries, “No! Roar!” the dad answers, “YES! ROAR!” and they’re off into town. When the chastened child admits he just wanted a wild mane like his father’s, Dad gives him a kiss, prompting complaints about the big lion’s “prickly” hair. “You need a haircut!” “Me? No.” But the tables have turned, and after a few well-placed criticisms expose the father’s terror and bring him to his knees, the pair finally agree to get haircuts together. This latest from picture-book veteran Yum brims with heart and charm, turning a classic childhood conflict on its head with subtle style and wit. The colored-pencil illustrations are light and breezy, rendering both lions in loose casual wear and flip-flops as they strive in their battle of wills. The text is comprised entirely of dialogue, with the art bringing out the humorous subtext through the lions’ fittingly unrestrained emotions—accentuated in Dad by a wonderfully expressive unibrow—as well as an abundance of clever background details. Great for Father’s Day or just for kicks.
YUM, Hyewon. Lion Needs a Haircut. illus. by Hyewon Yum. 40p. Abrams. May 2020. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781419742248.
PreS-Gr 1–Little Lion is looking rather unkempt. The cub’s overgrown, rust-colored mane hangs in his face, gets in his food, and hampers his reading, but he has plenty of excuses for why a haircut is unnecessary. Though Dad assumes he understands why his son doesn’t want to go to Goatee’s Barber Shop, he is surprised upon learning the real reason: His son wants to look look him. When Dad finds his son has turned the tables on him, there is only one simple solution to end the impasse, which ends up satisfying them both. The childlike hand-lettered text is printed in gray with the son’s words in a paler shade than his father’s. The colored pencil illustrations in pastel hues complement this universal tale of a common childhood situation. The lions’ town is made up of a variety of animal species, such as goats, dogs, buffalo, pigs, and bears. VERDICT An enjoyable tale about a common childhood issue. A recommended purchase.
Avery Corman celebrates canine types and personalities in “Bark in the Park!” (Orchard Books, 38 pages, $17.99), an illustrated collection of pithy poems for children ages 3 to 5. Each breed gets its own few lines of playful verse amid pictures by Hyewon Yum that radiate a warm, friendly feel. Among the streets, shops and open spaces of a town we see a wild multiplicity of dogs and people frisking and strolling. A bearded man holds a snub-faced pug, and we read: “Is the pug cute / Or is the pug ugh? / Mostly, people love / The little pug’s mug.” Elsewhere, a fit-looking fellow works out alongside his bull terrier: “A scrappy guy with lots of hustle, / He’s one part dog and one part muscle.” Illustrated endpapers show the 38 breeds featured here.