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Reviewed by Francis Mont for Readers' Favorite
The Lion in Your Heart, written by R.C. Chizhov and illustrated by Anil Yap, is a picture book for children aged 3 to 8. It addresses the fear young children experience when faced with unaccustomed places, unfamiliar things, and unexpected events. The text is divided into brief narrative passages or one-sentence questions and answers. It consists of a conversation between a little boy who is afraid to go to sleep in a new room after moving house and his mother, who comes in to calm his fears and put him to bed. Both the language and concepts are readily accessible to any small child with a basic level of English. Furthermore, each idea is accompanied by a clear, simple illustration on every page. It explains to the fearful child how to draw on his own emotional resources to confront and overcome a daunting task or situation.
This book is both appropriate to its audience and equal to its intended mission. R.C. Chizhov uses examples of situations the child might face in his present life, escalating in difficulty and projecting into an imagined future. It is a very effective device. I particularly like the mother’s realistic examples from her own experience, which shows that adults, too, can feel the same way and must resort to the same strategy, thus letting the child know it’s a universal experience, that he’s understood and not judged. The pictures are also very helpful in making those situations real. They are striking in their clean, bright color palette and fun to look at without distracting from the text, which is also enhanced by color and font size changes. I can recommend The Lion in Your Heart to both parents, caregivers, and teachers who deal with young children.