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The Happy Lion (Happy Lion)

3.96  ·  Rating Details  ·  273 Ratings  ·  40 Reviews
The lion at the little French zoo is a favorite of all the townspeople. Every day they stop by to feed him tidbits and say, “Bonjour, Happy Lion.” Naturally, when the lion finds his door open, he decides it would only be proper to visit all his friendly neighbors in return. But, wait—sacré bleu! Why is everyone fleeing in terror?

“Louise Fatio’s timeless tale about friendsh
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published March 9th 2004 by Knopf Books for Young Readers (first published 1954)
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I love this lion! He's sweet, kind, innocent and optimistic. And the illustrations of him are great!

The story is basically about a lion who lives in an enclosure in the middle of the city. Now, I'm not a fan of zoos, cages or things like that, so already it's a hard story for me to be "okay with". But, in the story the lion likes his home and likes all the nice people that come and say hi to him.

One day his door is left open and the lion decides to go say hi to all his friends. He thinks it woul
Valentin Eni
Jan 08, 2015 Valentin Eni rated it it was ok
Un leu de la grădina zoologică a ieşit la plimbare pe poarta lăsată deschisă din întâmplare. Leul este mirat de ce toată lumea care îl saluta şi se comporta frumos la zoo, acum ţipă, fuge, aruncă în el cu ce apucă şi chiar au venit pompierii să-l prindă. "Probabil aşa se comportă ei mereu atunci când nu sunt la zoo" se gândeşte Leul Fericit. Doar Francois, fiul supraveghetorului de animale, îl salută calm şi îi propune leului să facă o plimbare împreună înapoi la grădina zoologică. De atunci, ch ...more
Brennan Wieland
Jan 11, 2011 Brennan Wieland rated it it was amazing
Louise Fatio (1904-1993) might have been hinting towards stereotyping when he wrote this book. When the lion escapes from his looking looking for friends, he can't figure out why the humans aren't treating him like they do when he is at the zoo. Once he is out everyone runs away from him, when all he wants is people to say hello to him like they do at the zoo. Later in the book when he finally finds a friend in the zookeepers son, who takes him back to the zoo.
Brian Rosenblat
Jul 02, 2012 Brian Rosenblat rated it really liked it
enjoyed reading this to my daughter. a classic. only thing i would change is the premise - not sure that I agree that the lion is so happy because he's in a nice French zoo instead of the wilds of an African savannah. But I suppose it's a bit dated.
Derrick Schneider
Jan 17, 2016 Derrick Schneider rated it liked it
What happens when a member of the oppressed class leaves the carefully conscripted walls society has lain around him and tries to mingle with his oppressors as equals?

They freak out of course, until he's back safe in his place. Then everyone is all nice again.
Jun 12, 2011 Tricia rated it it was amazing
Originally published in 1954, this title falls into the realm of classic picture book literature that the librarian in me cannot deny. A happy lion (as the title may suggest) lives in a zoo in a park where he is visited by friends. One morning his house door is left open so he decides to go visiting his friends in their homes. How curious a world it is outside of his zoo home! This is a timeless story that my early elementary daughters enjoyed. Charming!
Skylar Burris
Aug 29, 2008 Skylar Burris rated it liked it
Shelves: childrens
Good vocabulary and sentence structure, as is often the case with children's classics when compared to the modern stuff. My daughter didn't appreciate the humor in this one; perhaps she is not yet old enough. I won't mentio to my husband that I read it because he gets grumpy about all those children's stories that teach kids that ferocious beasts are cuddly creatures to be petted. Nevertheless, I don't think she'll be leaping the moat at the zoo.
Christy Hathcock
I really enojoyed The Happy Lion. It had a cute twist on it that can be related to society today. Everyone was friends with the Lion at the zoo, but outside of the zoo he only had one true friend that stuck with him. It kept me interested and had a postitve vibe that would be fun to share in a classroom. I would highly recommend this folktale to all ages.
Feb 26, 2015 Sarah rated it it was amazing
I had a very clear memory of my mother reading this to me, I won't say how many years ago. Through some obscure twist of memory I recalled the little boy as Italian, saying 'Buon Giorno happy lion' on his way to school. So the setting is a French village, and the zookeeper's son is on his way home from school, and the greeting is bonjour... But I am delighted that my searches on Google recovered this gem despite the fact I had neither title nor author, just a misremembered phrase and a happy lio ...more
The Happy Lion is fairly cute. My kids didn't seem to totally understand what was going on -- I had to ask and coax to get them to get that the people were screaming because they were afraid of the lion. At the end, one girl kept saying that there must be a fire behind the lion, rather than understanding that the firefighters were actually going after the lion himself.

There's not much fantastic here, but it's a sweet little story that doesn't really do any harm.
Julia Jasztal
Jan 30, 2013 Julia Jasztal rated it liked it
Mommy's review from 11/20/11 -

3.5 - We found this at the library last week and once we picked it up to read at home I recognized the lion and thought we'd read the story before. It turned out we hadn't, we'd actually read The Happy Lion and the Bear and in the end we liked this more.
I didn't look but I'm guessing this one was the first Happy Lion book. If that's the case maybe that's why we liked it more.
Julia wasn't impressed with the old-timey illustrations while I thought them beautiful. We
Jul 05, 2011 Sunhi rated it it was amazing
"Bonjour, Happy Lion!" Oh, how funny this whole book is. It's fun for both my son and I because he gets to hear the story of the lion and I get to use a faux French accent while reading it. This silly story of a lion who accidentally escapes the zoo of his French town is another of my son's favorites.

The pictures in the book are cute and provide my son with plenty to discuss with me, especially the picture of the lion in the zoo and the picture of the fire engine getting ready to try to get the
May 22, 2014 Redri9hthand rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kids
My children were delighted by this book's charming illustrations and straightforward story of a surprisingly mild-mannered lion who experiences a day outside his cage roaming around town and discovers he is indeed happiest being kept in a cage.
The author was inspired by a friendly circus lion, who escaped. The illustrations were O.K. but not great. The story was also O.K. but not great.
Jul 11, 2016 Pippii rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read this with Thea, she loved it, as Sarah did when she was younger, and I did when I was a kid.
Kerry (The Roaming Librarian)
I liked it, but the kids got a bit twitchy towards the end, better for 3-5 than for 2's I think.
One of my absolute favorites growing up. I can still hear my mom saying, "Bonjour, Happy Lion!" :)
Jul 31, 2014 Mumbler rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picture-books
Great illustrations. Story not the best, but liked overall.

French townscapes bien indeed.
Sep 23, 2007 Kelly rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kidlit
When I read ths to my Andy he laughs. And laughs and laughs and laughs until I am afraid he is going to rupture something with the force of the laughing. A lion lives in a French park. Every day people stop by to say "bonjour, happy lion!" One day the zookeeper leaves the door to his enclosure open and the happy lion decides to go out into the city and say hello to all his friends. He does so, and all the friends fall over screaming in terror.

We have an audio version of the book also, and Andy h
Martha DeSabia
Aug 29, 2015 Martha DeSabia rated it it was amazing
Read this as a child and read it to my children. Great story!
Jan 28, 2014 Chase rated it it was amazing
Jun 15, 2007 Tayla rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrensbooks
An underappreciated classic. This is one of my all time favorite children's books. I was thrilled when they re-published it because my childhood copy was misplaced some years ago. I may love it so much because of the memory of my dad reading it to me as a child. When he did the Happy Lion sounded a bit like John Wayne....still does if I pick it up and read it now.
I grew up reading this book and will always of the the memory if my mom and I saying "Bonjour Happy Lion" whenever we saw a lion. I use it for my storytime programs. I find that not all preschool-age kids appreciate or get the humor. I wish I had a big book so that the fabulous illustrations can be seen and loved during the programs.
Jun 25, 2009 Peggy rated it it was amazing
"Bonjour! Happy Lion!" My four-year-old son and I love to say this to each other. This is a classic French story book and such a fun one! I think it's just as much fun for me to read as it is for my my son to listen. It does have that 50ish-early 60's sort of feel to it because of the illustrations, but it's still timeless.
Nov 09, 2009 Miekka rated it it was amazing
Shelves: seths-books
Being that my sons best friend in the whole world is a raggedy stuffed lion that he's had since he was less than one, this book was awesome. Such a friendly lion and he makes friends with a little boy. It was great. Ages 3 and up.
The happy lion decides one day to go outside of the zoo and finds out that people are not as friendly as they are when they see him behind the gates. He just wants to find one of his familiar friends who said bonjour to him.
Jaimie Montréal
Jul 11, 2012 Jaimie Montréal rated it really liked it
I have mixed feelings, in part because of the fact that the lion is happier in a zoo than in DANGEROUS AFRICA. But this is clearly a sign of the time in which it was written. The story is cute anyway.
Sep 01, 2011 Matthew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a simple harmless lion story. I really liked that while every adult completely misunderstood the situation, Francois, the child knew just what to do and didn't overreact at all. How delightful!
Logan Young
2nd grade. Quick Read. A lion ventures out of his cage to go visit the people who always came to see him at the zoo. He discovers that the people treat him differently when he's not at the zoo.
Aug 31, 2013 Sandra rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s-books
This precious book was given to me from my dear friend, LeAnn McMurray. I read this to Caeron as a young girl. LeAnn (Lambie) gave this book to me when Michael was born.
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