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Jim's Lion

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  264 ratings  ·  64 reviews
Russell Hoban’s moving, unflinching tale of a boy who finds bravery during illness is reimagined in graphic-novel format with new art by Alexis Deacon.

Asleep in his hospital bed, Jim dreams of a great lion with white teeth and amber eyes. This lion is Jim’s finder. According to Nurse Bami, everyone has a finder, a creature who comes looking for us when we are lost. But whe
Hardcover, 64 pages
Published November 11th 2014 by Candlewick Press (first published October 8th 2001)
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3.98  · 
Rating details
 ·  264 ratings  ·  64 reviews

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Ellie Labbett
It is stories like these that remind me of how literature really is such a work of art. Jim’s Lion is an incredible book, completely abstract and a highly interpretive text that could be read in so many ways. To me, Hoban and Deacon speak of a young boy’s journey of summoning courage- perhaps even finding the strength to allow oneself to BE courageous, and discovering what lay inside all along. The beauty in this narrative lies in the gaps between the text and picture, fused together to build a ...more
Oct 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picture-books
Litres of tears! Delightful pictures: Deacon succeeded to portrait Jim's dreaming setting in a thrilling way. On the other hand, Hoban wrote a simple story rich in sensitivity. The two parts follow one another perfectly: a lovely dichotomy!

PSHE: it would enrich children's empathy towards animals. An interesting written/artistic session could be set up: firstly transforming Deacon's pictures into words and then Hoban's words into pictures.
Oct 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This story follows the journey of a young boy who has a life threatening illness, and his internal search for strength and courage. Its hard to know where to start with this book, its unlike anything I've ever read before. I feel like it is one of those books where each time you read it, you interpret it in a different way or see a tiny detail that you perhaps didn't notice before. I really loved it, especially the Alexis Deacon illustrations representing Jim's dreams.
James Benham
The story of a young boy finding his courage and determination. While I didn't understand every part of the story, I think that's part of its beauty. So much of it is abstract it is possible to form your own opinions and ideas about Jim's trials. And although pictures play a huge role in telling the story in this book, it is by no means just for young or less advanced readers. The text gives just enough information for context while sticking with the real word being told in words and the world o ...more
Julia M
This is a very graphic book about the fears a child would have to face the fears of going through a very difficult situation and that is exactly what the ready has to bring into the story – the experience of facing fear.
The book is marvellously illustrated. The use of warm/dark colours do bring quiet a sombre mood making the reader feel the same tension and worry the character is feeling. The illustrations are not always consistent. There are different styles (how it’s painted/ drawn) between t
Jess Hancock
Oct 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the first book I've read by Hoban. It's a dark, emotive and compelling graphic novel.
Deacon's illustrations are incredibly deep and powerful throughout the book. On my first read, the darkness made me frantically read, as the tension rose, I needed to know if Jim would survive. I read the book again for a second and third time to absorb more.

Bami appears as Kim's guardian angel, her message is clear, being in your 'happy place' with a 'finder' and your 'don't run stone' will give you p
Jason Bootle
I don't recall many books that I have cried at the end of but this one brought a tear to my eye. What a magical, beautiful, moving story. So exquisitely told and illustrated. I'm moved.
Jan 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A story full of adventure and bravery. Requiring a certain amount of inference from its audience in order to narrate some elements of the story. This requirement of the book can be implemented into the classroom as an introduction to the usefulness of inference and how to apply it.
Apr 15, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an intermediate hybrid graphic novel. The text was originally a separate story written by Russell Hoban in 2001, but illustrator Alexis Deacon created the images to go along with the text to cross the genre into graphic novels in 2014.

NOTE: While the reading level for this book is 3.4 it most definitely is NOT for younger audiences. While the story line is exceptional in its depiction of fear of the unknown, potential life and death illness and operation, and an internal and external bat
Katy Noyes
May 07, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This looks like a picture book, but the author's name indicates that this is one for older children.

The protagonist is in hospital, we aren't told exactly what is wrong, but find out that he's very sick, and needs an operation but that it's risky. A nurse talks to him about how she copes with problems, and the boy uses his own fantasy world to cope with his illness.

I read this thinking "how would I share this with a child?" - a lot of it isn't text but comic-like pictures with no words, with adm
Ayesha Hussain
Feb 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Probably the only thing I can reply to this is OMG what did I just read ! Using the words with the pictures really make the story come to life.. The book is about a boy which is seriously ill which need to make major surgery, however the boy is to scared to take the operation. With the assistance of a Bani a nurse the child finds the courage to go to his "good place" in which he faces his finder. The finder is the lion which is shown on the front page, I think the lion is representing God? With ...more
Mar 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: listofbetterment
The last book I had to read from my #listofbetterment and probably the best one. It was absolutely fascinating, captivating, compelling, and overall very emotional.

Jim's Lion is about an ill child who, thanks to his nurse, learns to escape from his sickness in his dreams.

The mix between pages with only illustrations, or only words, and also both, makes it really interesting. Sometimes I even found that some illustrations were more powerful that the narration.

It is a tough subject, the illustra
"People who have what I have, mostly die, don't they?" said Jim.

Wonderful novel for children about finding strength and courage within yourself.
John of Canada
Lovely positive story for kids and adults.
Cassandra Gelvin
May 06, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
When you wish upon a black person...

This book is extremely wordy and rather culturally insensitive. Africa is a big place, with many varied cultures, and just saying that someone is "tribal" and "from Africa" is worse than saying someone is "European": it tells you nothing about them other than they are a different culture from the main character and that's "interesting."

There is a little white boy who is sick (it doesn't say what's wrong with him; it just says that he's very sick). It's possibl
Patricia Timbrook
May 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: children and adults
If you were asked to think about it for a moment, you should be able to recall one of Russell Hoban's books, for they number in the dozens. Okay, all you boomers, how about Frances, the Badger series that hit the children's picture book scene in the early 60s? Ahh. Yes. Frances! Illustrated by his first wife, Lillian Hoban, Frances the Badger was, and still is, affectionately treasured and cuddled up with, and acclaimed by many as one of the best bedtime books. Apart from Frances, Mr. Hoban also ...more
Jul 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jim is in the hospital. This beautiful, quiet, and utterly powerful story tells how he finds courage, and lets it transform him.

My 8-year-old daughter asked a children’s librarian for comics about lions, and Jim’s Lion was on the shelf at our public library, so we checked it out. My daughter read it on her own, then said, “This is sweet. You should read it.” She went to fetch her plush lion. I read the book, and cried. She had her plush lion comfort me.

This reminds me a lot of Neil Gaiman’s Cora
Clare Snow
A transcendent amalgam of word and image.

Russell Hoban's story was first published in 2001 with illustrations by Ian Andrews. After Hoban's death this edition illustrated by Alexis Deacon was published.

Jim's dreams are wordless sequential art and powerfully convey his fears in surreal passages.

I want to find the earlier edition to compare the two, although I'm not sure anything could surpass this edition.

It's another book from the library discard in very good condition. Again, I think it wasn't
Daisy Toomey
Nov 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picturebooks
I couldn't not give this 5 stars.

I loved the notion of Jim having a finder who would help him overcome his illness and the initial fear towards the lion.

The subtle sweetness of text (mainly based around Jim and Bami's) isn't necessarily needed to explain the book but I felt added a lot of depth to the story and highlighted the theme of courage.

Deacon's anthropomorphic watercolour illustrations give such an ethereal feel to the book, and the inference within some of the images (particularly when
Some of the reviews have referred to as a graphic novel, the copy that we read was a hardback picture book from the under 5's section of the library. Conceptually, and textually, though it's intended for older children. The story is about a chronically ill and medically fragile child who one can infer is frequently in hospital and has needed multiple surgeries. They are afraid they won't wake up from sedation and kind of go on a dream quest to find their spirit animal to protect them.

It's more a
Nov 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picture-books
What a touching story. Bami is a nurse anyone in hospital, child or adult, needs. It was such an amazing and empowering act to put Jim's 'healing' in his own hands. The story highlights the inner fighter in us all and somehow, I believe that we all have 'a finder', if we seek, we will find it/him/her. Anyone facing distress due to ill-health will find this book comforting.
It is interesting how Hoban portrays the pictures as they tell a different story from the written words.
May 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reminiscent of Neil Gaiman's Sandman series - lovely, dreamlike, eerie and at times frightening. A lovely book for inspiring discussion.
Nov 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm in love with Akexis Deacon's art!
Debbie Wright
Jun 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: graphic-novel
An outstanding text which allows the reader to interprete the story through the pictures, a must-read !
Edy Gies
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Based on a picture book published in 2001, this graphic novel retelling of that story offers hope to children and their caregivers. Jim, the protagonist, is in the hospital, awaiting news about his health issues and possibly facing an operation. His nurse, Bami, tells him that everyone has a finder, an animal that looks for them when they are lost. Jim's finder turns out to be a fierce lion who fights off the scary things in his life and keeps him safe. This book would be perfect for sharing wit ...more
Carol Kennedy
Mar 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tristate-reviews
In this new edition of a 2001 book by the late Russell Hoban, artist Alexis Deacon has added graphic-arts elements to enrich the story about a little boy who is desperately ill and conjures up a lion who will save his life. The simple story is magical and beautiful, but the illustrations really bring it to life. Especially compelling are the dream-sequence illustrations, which flow out of one another the way parts of a dream do, and use color in amazing and very expressive ways.

This would be a
Jun 11, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nkyclear
Told in both prose and wordless graphic novel format, the book captures the story’s essence perfectly, as it is often as absurd, confusing, and visual as only things of the mind, such as dreams, can be. Children in grades 5 and 6 may be able to grapple with the content, of how Jim is able to survive his hospital stay and a scary illness and operation by employing ‘mind over matter’. The watercolor illustrations do a great job of portraying the tone and spirit of the story, especially as large po ...more
Jim is ill and in need of medical attention to overcome his current state so that he can make it home and out of the hospital for Christmas. He is encouraged by his nurse to not fear being put to sleep for an operation, but rather look for his "finder" who can bring him out of the darkness and back into the light. I definitely picked up on consistent faith-based undertones in this book, but I think they were general and artistic enough to apply as more spiritual than religious, which I liked. Th ...more
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Russell Conwell Hoban was an American expatriate writer. His works span many genres, including fantasy, science fiction, mainstream fiction, magical realism, poetry, and children's books. He lived in London, England, from 1969 until his death. (Wikipedia)
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