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Lafcadio, the Lion Who Shot Back

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  6,112 ratings  ·  380 reviews
Shel Silverstein's first children's book, Lafcadio, the Lion Who Shot Back—a whimsical tale of self-discovery and marshmallows—is turning fifty with a return tothe vintage full-color cover.

Is a famous, successful, and admired lion a happy lion? Or is he a lion at all? Written and drawn with wit and gusto, Shel Silverstein's modern fable speaks not only to children but to
Hardcover, 112 pages
Published September 24th 2013 by HarperCollins (first published 1963)
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Average rating 4.15  · 
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Nov 13, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

"Hi-ho, Lafcadio the Great," he shouted. "Stop crying and start smiling, because every cloud must have a silver lioning and I have just thought of a new wonderful thing to do. And it's brand-NEW!"
"What is it?" Lafcadio the Great sniffed, looking up with great big tears running down his nose.
"Hunting," said the circus man.
"Wondetful," said Lafcadio the Great. " I have never been on a hunting trip."

این شیرِ کنجکاو... لافکادیوی نازنین...
چی میشه اگه طبیعتِ وجودمون رو فراموش کنیم؟
چی به سَرِمون میاد،
Oct 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
"I guess I just don't belong anywhere"
Jun 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Poor, poor Lafcadio , what do you do when you don’t want, to be a hunter, and you don’t want to be a lion?
He didn’t really know where he was going, but he did know he was going somewhere, because you really have to go somewhere, don’t, you?
And he didn’t really know what was going to happen to him, but he did know that something was going to happen, because something always does, doesn’t it?
Mar 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lafcadio is the story of a lion who begins life as an ordinary lion might, but when he encounters humans in the form of hunters his life begins to take a new direction. Ultimately a man from the circus convinces Lafcadio to accompany him to human civilization, luring him with the promise of marshmallows.

Readers of all ages enjoy Lafcadio’s first impressions and behavior upon his arrival in the city, as well as his hilarious obsession with marshmallows! The juxtaposition of lion and hunter
Apr 05, 2009 added it
Shelves: 2008-2009
"You don't have to shoot me," says the young lion. "I will be your rug and I will lie in front of your fireplace and I won't move a muscle and you can sit on me and toast all the marshmallows you want. I love marshmallows." But the hunter will not listen to reason, so what is there for a young lion to do? After eating up the hunter, Lafcadio takes the gun home and practices and practices until he becomes the world's greatest sharp-shooter. Now dressed in starched collars and fancy suits, and ...more
I am a Silverstein fan and enjoy this book. Yet, I am not certain I get it . . . if there is anything to get.

It seems to me like Uncle Shel is trying to supply a message about who we are. The lion changes into almost a man. In the end, he finds he fits into neither group. An outcast. Is that good? What does it say that the lion turned his back on his heritage? That he is no longer accepted into refined society?

It seems like there is supposed to be some message to this, but I'll be damned if I
can I possibly read a better children's story than this one?the answer is "defiposolutely not",only if it'd be by Shel Silverstein as well.
I'm not much of a baby lover,but I can't wait for the day that I'll be reading this story to my child ^_^ like it's my only reason to have a child for now.LOL.
it's a must to read story,even if you're 56!
Mar 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
It's a little sad, but sumhow very happy. It's very silly!
Mar 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shel Silverstein presents an existential dilemma in a marshmallow-filled elevator-filled children's book illustrated with whimsy and humor. What happens when the hunted becomes the hunter and can so identify with each that purpose is lost?

Quotes of note:

Chapter 2: "And soon he was able to shoot the trees, and soon the coconuts off the trees, and then the berries off the bush, and then the flies off the berries, and then the ears off the flies, and the dust off the ears, and finally the sunlight
Mohammad Roufarshbaf
Jun 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I believe that almost everyone has a Lafcadio in themselves. Most of us want to change ourselves and the way we live. Some of us chase celebrities and want to become like them; some others go after wealthy people and want to be as rich as possible, but the problem is that even when we reach our dreams, we find out that we are not the person we used to be, and we do not know ourselves any more, just the way Lafcadio found out that he was neither a lion, nor a human after a period of time that ...more
Dec 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: parents reading with their older children
We love Shel Silverstein's books and we've read most of his collection. His poems and illustrations are so uniquely humorous and absurd, we can't get enough of them. Our youngest will read the ones we own over and over, just as I did when I was about her age.

For some reason I'd never read this book before. It's a very wry look at big game hunters and a lion who stands up for himself. The story is a chapter book, which is a little different compared to Mr. Silverstein's usual short story and
May 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This is one of those books that I read to my students EVERY matter what the grade level is at the time. I love this book. I'm currently reading it to my first graders and it is just so very delightful. I love that it is an actual little children's "story" not just the popular "poetry" that Shel Silverstein is well known for.

PLUS, It was written the same year I was born which was 1963! Obviously, this is a story that stands the test of time. My very favorite part is the part(s) about
Aug 13, 2012 rated it liked it
Shel Silverstein gives us another clever allegory about life and society. Themes include desires, roles, and relationships between peoples. As always, I appreciate his absurdity, his silly wording, and his understated advocacy for simplicity and peace. Written in chapters and with fewer illustrations than his usual style, this is not a picture book (but remains a very quick read).
May 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
This book is LOTS of fun to read out loud but is probably more fun for older kids (3rd grade and higher). The younger ones might not get the crazy humor of it. I think it is a brilliant piece of work from Shel Silverstein. Kids are surprised to learn that this is one that we keep with the chapter books. Most haven't thought to look for him there.

Virginie (chouettblog)
Lovely story illustrating how with time, if you keep listening to others the forget who you really are.
Jan 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
LOVED this. I wasn't sure at the beginning, but by the end it was safe to say this book was wonderful. Shel Silverstein really has a talent of saying so so much in so few words.
Azin Asgarian
Jan 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved it! have read it at least 5 times! <3
Jon Nakapalau
Sep 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Lafcadio picks up a rifle...and becomes a better shot than the hunters who have come after him!
Nov 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A story about forgetting who you really are.

"And he didn't really know where he was going, but he did know he was going somewhere, because you really have to go somewhere, don't you?

And he didn’t really know what was going to happen
to him, but he did know that something was going to
happen, because something always does, doesn’t it? "
Timothy Ball
Dec 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
""You don't have to shoot me," says the young lion. "I will be your rug and I will lie in front of your fireplace and I won't move a muscle and you can sit on me and toast all the marshmallows you want. I love marshmallows", said the young lion. "You what?" said the hunter. "Well," said the young lion, "to be absolutely honest with you, I don't know if I really love marshmallows or not because I have never tasted one, but I love most things and I love the sound of the word marshmallow and if ...more
Jul 17, 2019 rated it liked it
One day, a group of lion hunters sneak into the jungle to find their prey. They never would have guessed what happened next: a lion who shot back! (I know, they really need to give this title another go. This one just doesn't describe the book AT ALL!) So of course a sharp-shooting lion is a lion who will acclimate to the city life and join the circus, right?

Yet another reread from my childhood! I had a battered copy of this book on my bookshelf as a little girl. When my mother would rake a
Melissa McMaster
When Lafcadio the lion encounters a hunter who wants to shoot him, Lafcadio tries to reason with the hunter, and tries to convince the hunter to not shoot him. However, nothing Lafcadio has to say convinces the hunter not to shoot him, so to save himself, Lafcadio eats the hunter. He then takes the gun, and practices with it until he is an expert sharpshooter. He becomes famous and successful, but after a while he finds himself considering whether he is actually happy with his life or not.
Bruce Snell
Jan 05, 2015 rated it liked it
Lafcadio is a children's book by Shel Silverstein - 3 stars (although I imagine most younger kids would rate it higher than that). Lafcadio is a young lion living in the jungle in Africa when he encounters a hunter. He eats the hunter, then takes the gun and learns to shoot. Eventually he ends up world famous as a shooting lion, and in the end he is unhappy where his fame and fortune leads him. I sure the moral of the story is supposed to be that if you try to be something you aren't you won't ...more
Jan 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
It's about wanting to belong but not fitting in anymore.
Emily S.
Feb 23, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Edit: read aloud again this academic year. Kids laughed out loud! So did I.

Read this aloud to my fourth graders. Absolutely hilarious. We all loved it!
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Shelley Whitaker
Sep 09, 2019 rated it liked it
He was crying.
"Why are you crying, my friend?" I asked. "You have money and you are famous and you have seven big cars and you are loved by everyone and you are the greatest sho in all the world. Why are you crying-- you have everything!"
"Everything isn't everything," saidL Lafcadio the Great, dripping big tears down on the golden rug.

"I'm tired of my money and my fancy clothes.
"I'm tired of eating Rock Cornish hen stuffed with rice.
"I'm tired of going to parties and dancing the cha-cha and
Sudhir Pai
Jan 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
When it comes to children's writing, if there was ever a middle ground between the eccentricities of Dr. Seuss and Roald Dahl, Shel Silverstien first pitched a tent there with Lafcadio, the Lion Who Shot Back before building a fort with later classics like The Giving Tree and many others.

Lafcadio is a simple story of an ordinary Lion whose one-time encounter with a human hunter changes his life forever. After eating the said hunter, the lion starts developing a taste for all things human. And
Nov 13, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Two-and-a-half stars. Starts whimsical (though slightly dark with lions shooting at men) and ends sad. While this tale touches on how riches and fame aren’t everything, it’s ultimately about identity, forgetting where you are from and not feeling totally yourself in someplace new.

- - -

I decided to take a deep dive into Shel Silverstein’s works for children. Here is my ranking of these works:
1) Where the Sidewalk Ends
2) The Giving Tree
3) A Giraffe and a Half
4) A Light in the Attic
5) Every Thing
Joseph Pitts
Nov 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
kind of an odd story but enjoyable nonetheless. One of Shel's first books, and probably the most unique. Lafcadio learns to shoot, and quickly becomes the best shot in the world. He loses track of who he is and when he sees the lions again he gets even more confused before just leaving. I never read this book as a kid, and although it is intended as a children's story I still enjoyed it quite a bit. It's intriguing and leaves you wondering whatever happened to Lafcadio.
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Shel Silverstein was the author-artist of many beloved books of prose and poetry. He was a cartoonist, playwright, poet, performer, recording artist, and Grammy-winning, Oscar-nominated songwriter.
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