Lions & Liars is an intriguing read for your upper elementary to middle school students from Kate Beasley. Surprising character qualities in boys, hair-raising adventures, and scary weather makes for a fast paced read. The hardest part of this review for me is not giving away the story as I tell you how much I enjoyed it!
It was actually quite funny as I started reading this book as my lad headed into his hour long karate lesson. The class let out and I continued reading expecting my boy to find me. He apparently walked right past me, out to the car, waited for a while and then came back to find me…and I wouldn’t leave until I read the last five pages. He was so impatient with me until I said “I think you’ll like this book!” Then all was forgiven. 🙂
From the Back of the Book
Frederick Frederickson has a food-chain theory about life. There are lions, like the school bully. Gazelles, like the bullied kids. There are meerkats, and the fleas that live on the butts of meerkats. Frederick’s a flea.
Fifth grade is off to a terrible start when Frederick arrives at a disciplinary camp for troublesome boys. His fellow troop mates – Nosebleed, Specs, The Professor, and little-yet-lethal Ant Bite – are terrifying. But in between trust-building exercises and midnight escape attempts, a tenuous friendship grows between them. Which is lucky, because a Category 5 hurricane is coming and everyone will have to work together – lions and fleas alike – to survive!
I received an advanced readers copy so not all the illustrations were done yet, but the ones that I did see were simple line drawings that nicely conveyed the story. Not having the drawings allowed me to use my own imagination, wondering what the artist may have wanted to illustrate, so it would be interesting to see the final rendition.
Don’t those simple pencil drawings covey the story well? Lost and tired on a boat. What will Frederick do?
It was a book of growing up and realizing important truths about yourself and those in your life. I found it a good read with parts that caused me to laugh, and parts that made me (as a mom) wince with worry. I can well imagine by boy just enjoying the read and watching the well-developed characters change and become something more than what they planned. Friendships blossomed and what it means to be a guy well learned. Boys need to be boys and they need to learn to be men too.. so it was a fun read watching them grow up a bit.
I do have to say this… it is a boy focused book and some aspects of it would not appeal to most girls, though some girls might laugh. Encourage your boys to read it. It’s a fair decent book.
Lions & Liars
Kate Beasley (author)
Dan Santat (illustrator)
Farrar Straus & Giroux
Softcover, 304 pages
Ages 8-12 years
Friendship, Fear, Discipline, food chain,
Reviewed for Raincoast book.
Where to purchase: Amazon Link.