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Christian, the Hugging Lion
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Christian, the Hugging Lion

3.9 of 5 stars 3.90  ·  rating details  ·  94 ratings  ·  24 reviews
When John and Ace found a lion cub for sale at Harrods, they knew that a department store was no place for a lion. They took him home, named him Christian, raised him and loved him--and in the process, Christian became a London celebrity. But when Christian got too big for their apartment, Ace and John knew that it was time to let him go back to Africa, where he belonged....more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published April 27th 2010 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
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Newbery 2011
117th out of 147 books — 488 voters
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2011 Caldecott Hopefuls
61st out of 74 books — 137 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 128)
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Josiah
In my opinion, Christian, the Hugging Lion is one of the best picture books of 2010. In fact, while I may not have opted to award it the Caldecott Medal if the selection were up to me, I almost certainly would have designated it an honoree.

It's not easy to differentiate the emotion of this book from that of the famous Youtube video of the reunion between Christian the lion and his owners, Ace and John. Ace and John had lived with their affectionate pet lion cub for many months before deciding...more
Diane
so loved reading the adult version of this book: A Lion Called Christian: The True Story of the Remarkable Bond Between Two Friends and a Lion, that I was very curious to check out the book for children which was released in April 2010.

Richardson and Parnell, tell a heartwarming story of two men named Ace and John, who purchase a baby lion cub from Harrods in London. Together the three create a truly unique family. For one year, Christian live happily with his human family playing with toys and...more
Clio Reads
Two Men and a Baby... Lion? My oldest son (now three) has counted this book among his favorites for more than a year. It tells the story of Christian the lion, who became a YouTube sensation about five years ago. (I dare you to watch without tearing up!) For those not familiar with the story, two men purchase a lion cub from Harrods Department Store in the 1970s. They take him everywhere--the park, the pub, the beach--and he is a well-behaved and affectionate pet who likes to hug his people, Ace...more
Kim
If you haven't seen the Christian the lion video on YouTube, go watch it right now, and have some tissues handy. The moment where Christian recognizes his human family and rushes toward them for a hug (beautifully captured in this book) will almost certainly move you to tears. This book is lovely, really, with soft illustrations and just enough text to tell the story.

I'm a little concerned that I've seen this book on some "Do not let children read" lists. I suspect that it has less to do with t...more
Margo Tanenbaum
By the authors of And Tango Makes Three, this book also tells the story of an alternative family, in this case two men who adopt a lion cub at Harrods as a pet. As incredible as it may seem, this is based on a true story. Ace and John, a young couple (in the illustrations they look like two "hippies" from the '70's), buy the cub, name him Christian and bring him to their apartment. Although he was a well-behaved little cub, he was still a lion, and we see how his owners take him for a walk, to t...more
Wooden Horse
The story of Christian is so adorable that I feel bad giving the book only 2 stars. I first learned of Christian via the internet sometime in 2011 or 2012. I didn't pay too much attention at the time as to when all of these events happened and figured it was a fairly recent reunion between John, Ace and Christian. In reading the author's note I was shocked to learn this all happened in the seventies. I should have guessed based on the grainy images on YouTube but I don't always notice these thin...more
Whitney
The youtube video makes me cry every time I see it. True story- cute. Cassie enjoyed it. I probably enjoyed it more though. :)
DeeAnn
Great, true story!
Alice
This a warm and fuzzy book (pun intended) it is a true story, it tugs at the heart strings and I enjoyed it. A lion born in captivity was going to be sold at Harrods department store in London. Two friends Ace and John thought that a cage was not a place for a lion to be...this is the beginning of a story...You have to read it...and find out...then google John and Ace and Christian reunion and watch the video. Fun one!
Jenna
Very cute picture book of the true story captured on video and went viral in 2008 of the feral lion that is reunited with his human buddies. The text takes only a few liberties with the truth, as the story is already perfect to be told as a children's story. The art is adorable - especially the cover photo. I'm happy to have this in my growing picture book collection.
Jess Brown
Based on the incredible true story of two men who adopt a lion cub, Christian, the Hugging Lion is the work of the authors who brought us And Tango Makes Three. Adorable illustrations track the life of Christian, the lion, as he grows up in London and eventually makes a life with a family of lions in Africa. Great for elementary kids.
Mylinh
Non-fiction

Another wonderful book about a different kind of family by the author of And Tango Makes Three. A great book to read when talking about families. An animal or lion lover will love to read this book. Would also be good to read when talking about wild animals vs. tame animals and where certain animals live.
Michelle Dale
My 10 year old brought this book home from school and asked me to read it to her as a bedtime story. At first glance, I thought it was a "baby book" and asked her why she checked it out. I read it to her anyway. It was such a sweet book--and based on a true story. I am glad that I took the time to read it with her.
Loren
thought this story was too cute to be real. Even after reading the author's note at the end of the book I am still not sure. Who in their right mind would buy a lion cub from a department store? Hmmm ... I will have to look for the "now-famous" video of their reunion on the Internet.
Megan
Fun picture book about a lion who was purchased at Harrod's and was eventually released into the wild. The book is based on a true story that happened in the seventies. Thats right the seventies - the lions owners both sport really groovy haircuts!
Holly
LOVED this video, love the book even more. Who could see/read this and not recognize the depth of animals' emotions? And then to realize that lion held such fond memories of his original owners ... just heartwarming.
Tracie
If you've seen the YouTube video of the two men who released a lion into the wild and then later went back to visit him, you'll love this story. Fans of Owen and Mzee will probably appreciate too.
Edward Sullivan
A couple of books have already been published about Christian the Lion but this telling is warm and inviting. The two wordless spreads showing Christian, Ace, and John are wonderful.
Peacegal
This book is seriously adorable, It also may raise some decent discussions about whether wild animals should be kept as pets and where wild animals really belong.
Pauline
Yet another animal story based on true events...we really enjoyed it. Love the subtle nature of the 'alternative' family embedded into the greater story of the lion.
Donalyn
Two Englishmen buy a lion cub from Harrods department store, but eventually release him into the wilds of Africa. Based on a true story.
Jessie
Jul 21, 2014 Jessie rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Fans of children's stories
This story made me cry when I originally heard it, and this book adaptation is adorable (and made me a little teary, again). :)
Mckinley
Glad the lion found a proper home and was able to be reintroduced to the wild.
Hero Brotz
Hero Brotz marked it as to-read
Oct 03, 2014
Charlotte
Charlotte marked it as to-read
Jul 23, 2014
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