The title, with its use of long words, may be a hint that this is not really intended for the usual picture book demographic of small children. I took it back to the library without reading it to my little niece, because I was pretty certain it would upset her. It would have upset me when I was her age -- although, oddly, a similar book in which a bunch of HUMANS got eaten by a lion would probably have been fine with me. Kittens>people. Anyway, I can see older kids or ones with a dark sense of humor enjoying this, but I would urge parents of more sensitive tykes to read the entire thing before deciding whether or not to share it.
I have had this book for a while now and It has taught me a very valuable lesson: **ALWAYS READ A BOOK YOURSELF BEFORE READING IT TO YOUR SMALL CHILD!!** I was shopping one day and found this book in dymocks. I don't know if I was in a hurry or just not paying attention, but I should have thought (FROM THE DARN TITLE MEL!!!) that perhaps this is slightly inappropriate for the very little ones. A DWINDLING Assortment of Animals. Sigh.
So as any other somewhat slightly intelligent person can figure out from the cover (not me obviously), there is a lion in this book, and there is a dwindling assortment of animals. As in, there are a lot of animals, and then there are not so many animals. One guess as to where they go.... But there are a few twists and turns to this book, don't start complaining I'm giving away the story for you... The lion's dietary preferences do not spoil the story here.
Anyway, there I was sitting with my (then 2 year old) son on the couch reading this book, he was extremely excited about the fact that there was a lion. I, on the other hand was silently regretting my choice of children's book purchase, and wondering if I could suddenly take it away without a tantrum. HOWEVER, he BLOODY LOVED IT!!!
I'm not sure if he was just at the age where he didn't really understand that a lion EATS other animals, or if he just didn't care. He thought it was the funniest book he had ever seen, and proceeded to make me read it to him 5 more times in the next hour.
So a year on, he certainly does understand that lions eat other animals now, but he still loves this book. He enjoys finding and pointing out the animals as I read them out, he loves the twists the book takes, and he LOVES the ending!
The only thing I don't like about this book is after we read it my son goes around the house yelling "HEY! WHO TURNED OUT THE LIGHTS?!!".
Would we recommend A Hungry Lion or A Dwindling Assortment of Animals?
Yes, but only to children who are not sensitive to the food chain and the "cycle of life"!
Each year I and my family read and rate all the Goodreads picture book nominees. This one is nominated for 2016. I make a few comments and then add their separate ratings and a comment. There's 15 and this is the sixth being rated. My rating might be somewhat influenced by the family, naturally. This is our collective favorite so far, of eight books.
[And after reading all 20 books, this was our favorite book of the nominees. However, like other things (people) I voted for in November 2016, this did not win. Not only did it not win, it did not make the finals for Goodreads picture book voting but it did get 16th place overall which is not nothing, given how many picture books come out each year, but I was disappointed it was not in the top five. It is so good!]
Me? 4 1/2 stars. With 2 or three actual surprises in it. Actually I thought this might be the only Goodreads nominee about climate change! Uh, moving on. . . It's cute and surprisingly and hilariously dark, in a couple places (see above). (And see below, for actual spoilers from kids, ha).
Tara (my wife): 5 stars. Totally hilarious! I liked how the sentences made you inspect the pictures. And I like how it is unexpected, twice! Harry (11): 4 1/2 stars. I liked how the turtle was protected by his shell, eating the cake at the end. Hank (10): 5 stars. I like how it kept starting over from the beginning and the turtle got to eat the cake at the end. Lyra (9): 5 stars. I like how the turtle got to eat the cake.
A diverse group of animals, gathered together with a hungry lion, gradually begin to dwindle in number in this humorous picture-book. Have they disappeared into the lion's stomach, as seems likely at first, or is something else responsible for their departure? If the latter, does this signal a happy ending, or is another surprise in store...?
With its pointed and very sharp sense of humor, this debut from Lucy Ruth Cummins reminded me of the work of Jon Klassen, which is fitting, as Klassen's recommendation can be found on the back cover of A Hungry Lion. I enjoyed the surprises here, and the way that the author continually misleads the reader, but suspect that more sensitive young people may not like the conclusion of the tale. I recommend that parents proceed with caution, reading this one first, before giving it to younger children, just to make sure it will suit them. The artwork, done in brush marker, gouache, graphite, charcoal and colored pencil, is absolutely charming, somehow managing to look hastily scribbled and skillfully done all at the same time. It looks very simple, but somehow manages to communicate a real sense of motion, and to capture its characters' various states of emotion. Recommended to anyone who enjoys picture-book fare of the slightly less-than-sweet variety.
It can't be easy to get a plot twist into a 32-page picture book, but lots of picture books manage it. TWO twists?? Twists that make ME, a serious adult superconsumer of picture books, raise both eyebrows in surprise??? GENIUS.
It’s fabulous fun to read and discover exactly what this means by “dwindling” of animals. There are things to see, predictions to make, and surprises waiting on each page of the book. Some may call it a little bloodthirsty, but really it’s all “tongue-in-cheek” and meant for laughter. Illustrations are simple drawings, but don’t ignore the smallest details. Even the expressions change bit by bit.
This is a dark and twisty picture book about a hungry lion and an assortment of small adorable animals. This may be a little too blood thirsty for young preschoolers but readers who loved I Want My Hat Back and This is Not My Hat will appreciate the macabre humor.
I really liked this one - pair it with I Want My Hat Back & This is Not My Hat for a great discussion on how views of a story change as we read on, and to get kids gasping and laughing in disbelief! This one has great sarcasm, and an interesting pov with the narrator.
There was something oddly charming about this book, despite the abstract artwork and the possibly macabre tone. I think, for older children, this could be a nice bedtime read-aloud. They could use their reasoning skills to figure out which characters have disappeared each page. It's also a good book to work on reading comprehension and whether the child is actively listening and paying attention to the book.
By the end of the very first page I was smiling! I love the lion with the scruffy looking main and Dracula fangs! I loved the interaction between writer and reader. I also loved that the writer encouraged the reader to use their imagination at strategic points. It's clearly a winner for me!
Een hilarisch duister prentenboek die ik twee keer heb gelezen achter elkaar. Een keer zelf gelezen, een keer aan mijn verloofde gelezen want hij houdt ook van dit soort prentenboeken. Ontmoet onze hongerige leeuw en de andere dieren om hem heen. Een voor een verdwijnen ze, maar komt dat door onze hongerige leeuw of niet? Ik lag helemaal dubbel terwijl ik las want er kwam steeds weer iets nieuws dat ik niet verwachtte en het einde was helemaal een verrassing. Ook de schrijfstijl was heerlijk. De tekeningen waren leuk gedaan. Ja, echt een aanrader als je eens wat anders wilt lezen. :)
If I could give this six stars, I would. Oh this book is so witty. It's a joy. 'Once upon a time there was a hungry lion...packed into a picturebook with a pile of cutesy little animals. I wonder what will happen next...? The meta-play between narrator's expectations, animal behaviour expectations mixed in with soft, lovable expectations of picturebooks is played with so, so well by Cummins and I adore her for it.