Chloe and the Lion by Mac Barnett

Get ready for the funniest picture book since I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen (who, incidentally, illustrated Mac Barnett’s delightful Extra Yarn)!

Mac Barnett is an author. He, like most authors, is trying to write a story. His friend Adam Rex is illustrating the story. The story is about a little girl who encounters a ferocious lion. Simple, right? Mac thinks so, but Adam has ideas to share. Too many ideas. So Mac has him eaten by the lion. A new illustrator (the imaginary hipster artist Hank Blowfeather) takes over, but his drawings don’t have the same pizzazz as Adam’s. Mac begins to regret his decision, and eventually swallows his pride and apologizes to Adam. The lion spits Adam back up, and the book reaches a happy ending for everyone involved.

I laughed my way through this book. The breaking of the fourth wall is brilliantly funny, and the graphic and text layout support perfectly placed laugh lines and dramatic pauses. And the illustrations! Various techniques make this an awesome visual feast. The author and his illustrators are claymation-style figures, while the story characters are cartoonish drawings who perform on a more realistically-drawn theatre set. Simply put, there’s a lot to look at here, and it’s all awesome!

So come to the store and find this book. Read it to yourself or a child. Enjoy a healthy dose of the chuckles.

Chloe and the Lion by Mac Barnett, illus. by Adam Rex; Hyperion Books (HarperCollins); 16.99; Ages 3-8

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