Authors: Ken and Angie Lake
Illustrators: Vishnu Madhav and Joyson Loitongbam
Publisher: Sweet Cherry Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-78226-028-8

Little toy, hear this rhyme,
Let it take you back in time,
Tales of sadness or of glory,
Little toy, reveal your story.”
Robin’s grandpa casts his magic spell on the toy in Ken and Angie Lake’s story, Leon the Lion.

Targeted toward preschool to middle school aged children, this small paperback is part of “The Diaries of Robin’s Toys” ten-book series. With no scary or violent scenes, it is ideal to be read out loud to beginner readers due to some complicated words. Having different punctuation, capitalization, and spelling rules in the United Kingdom, the format may confuse American readers. Written on notebook-looking lined paper with easy-to-read font, the black and white illustrations by Madhav and Loitongbam are simplistic yet understandable.

In this comprehensive tale, Robin is upset that the new kid, JP, did not help their football team win the last game. Overhearing JP’s mom talk to the coach, he hears the boy has no friends and loves learning about nature.

Taking his mind off the matter, Grandad stops by and takes him to the car boot sale (similar to a swap meet in America), where the young boy is allowed to pick out a toy. Robin picks out a toy lion. Grandad casts a special spell on it, knowing it has an interesting story to tell.

The cheerful lion says his name is Leon and that he is not the biggest of cats. He tells them lions come from Africa, Asia, and sometimes India and are carnivores that like to hunt at night and sleep during the day.

Leon tells the story that he is a shy, gentle poetry-writing critter who could not get a job as a security guard, sales person, or babysitter because everyone was afraid of his kind. He ends up happily working writing advertisements for a radio station and becomes known as the “King of the Jingle.”

Learning from the lion, Robin recognizes that JP may not be athletic, but he is very knowledgeable when it comes to nature, especially when he names a unique ingredient in Grandma’s trifle.

By teaching not to prejudge, this book not only focuses on promoting the positive in others, it provides information on lions that is fun and interesting. Children will enjoy reading how a toy’s story reveals engaging educational information while teaching an important lesson.

Thanks to the publisher and Bookpleasures for furnishing this complimentary book in exchange for a review of the reader’s honest opinion.