Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Lion and the Unicorn” as Want to Read:
The Lion and the Unicorn
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Lion and the Unicorn

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  190 ratings  ·  38 reviews
When Lenny Levi's father goes off to fight in the Second World War, his son has to learn to be brave: brave when bombs are dropped on his street in London, brave when he's evacuated to a big house in the country, and brave when spiteful children tease him and call him names.This beautiful book will strike a chord with anyone who has ever felt homesick and alone. Full of de ...more
Hardcover, 64 pages
Published March 15th 1999 by DK Publishing (Dorling Kindersley) (first published 1998)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.12  · 
Rating details
 ·  190 ratings  ·  38 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Lion and the Unicorn
Nov 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Read this to my 3 oldest (4, 6, & 8 yr olds). They enjoyed it, but I’m not sure they understood all of it. The illustrations are lovely, and I appreciated how the author didn’t try to resolve all the issues the young boy was facing. Rather than tie everything neatly together, he had to learn character development and what bravery meant in his particular situation. All in all, a great message and well told.
Jan 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Lion and the Unicorn would be a good read for older children because it is full with descriptive words and complex vocabulary.

The book could be used in the classroom to help children understand about World War Two where the children had to be evacuated to the country.
Jan 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: j-ya
I was somewhat taken aback when I picked this up as a hold at the library and was presented with a picture book. I knew it was short but I thought it was a chapter book, especially considering the content - the London Blitz. The librarian asked me if I wanted to cancel the hold. Absolutely not! (she wonders about me sometimes.)

What a beautiful book. The theme, a young Jewish boy in wartime London is shipped off to the country as an evacuee only to be bullied there, mostly because of his faith. H
Harry Best
Jan 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
About WW2 - a good book because it helped me learn about evacuation and the Blitz.
Beautiful illustrations too.
Jan 03, 2021 rated it really liked it
This book was written and illustrated by Shirley Hughes. While its original version was published in 1998, this version was published in 2000 and edited by Red Fox. It is a book for children.

Shirley Hughes won 2 Greenaway for "Dogger" (1977) and "Ella's Big Chance" (2003).

"The Lion and the Unicorn" mixes history and fiction. The story takes place during the Second World War, when England is bombed.

Lenny is a young boy living alone with his mother in London, his father having gone off to fight
Robin Lesur
Dec 18, 2020 rated it liked it
Lion and the Unicorn the story of blitz lived by a child.
The name of the book this is “Lion and Unicorn”, it was wrote and illustrated by Shirley Hughes. The first version was published in 1998. But their is an other version published on 7 September 2000 by the publisher Red Fox. Shirley Hughes has received a lot of awards but I don't know if this book has won an award.
The main character name's Lenny, he lives with her mum because his father has gone at war. Lenny is an insecure child but his
Emma Long
Oct 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
The Lion and the Unicorn is a wonderfully illustrated story of Lenny Levi, a young boy who is evacuated to the countryside during World War Two. The world he knows is being decimated by bombs and the only link to his father who has left to fight the war is a brass badge with a lion and a unicorn on it. For his well-being, Lenny is made to part ways with his mother and live in a foster home in the countryside. From the off Lenny is an outsider in the home and is frequently taunted by the other ch ...more
Sep 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
The Lion and the Unicorn tells the story of Lenny Levi, a young boy who is evacuated during the second world war. Lenny is frightened of so many things - of the falling bombs, of being parted from his mother, of the shadows in the night. He is an outsider because he is the only boy in his foster home in the country, because he is Jewish and doesnot eat bacon or attend morning prayers at school, and because he is from London. Furthermore, Lenny wets the bed and one of his fellow evacuees tells ev ...more
Aug 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
This is a tearjerking and touching story that describes one aspect of life during WWII for the English. Parents were so desperate to save their children that they sent them off to the countryside to protect them from the daily bombing raids on London. But being torn away from parents took a toll on the children, too. This story explains one boy's story and has both a harsh reality and a dreamlike wonder to it. The story reminds me strongly of The Secret Garden and the illustrations complement th ...more
Sep 29, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture
Poor Lenny Levi has no luck. First there is WWII. His father goes off to fight. London is bombed and Lenny is sent to stay in the country with people who didn't want a boy. The other kids are mean to him. He starts wetting the bed. His mother's letters stop coming. His only consolations are a statue of a unicorn in the garden and rare talks with a soldier who has lost his leg.

Parents may want to read this first to make sure it is not too sad or upsetting for their kids.
Gemma Fasheun
Aug 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
Really nice book but it really needs a new title.
Apr 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
It's a beautiful story of courage. ...more
Dec 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book is entitled "The Lion and the Unicorn". It was written by Shirley Hughes and it was published in 1998.

This is the story of a little boy during WWII. Her dad gives him a badge with a lion which represents England and a unicorn to represent the bravery. Soon Lenny is evacuated from a big house to the countryside. Here he meets Mick, a wounded of the war. The children learn a secret story about this place. So he goes on an adventure for become brave.

My opinion: This book is more for child
Nov 23, 2020 rated it it was ok

Shirley Hughes is an author and illustrator for children's books. Her famous books are "Dogger" and "Ella's Big Chance". With all the books she has written, she won the Kate Greenaway Medals for British children's book illustration.

The "Lion and the Unicorn" is a fantastic book who takes place in London during the Second World War. We see the story of Lenny Levi, a little boy. He was forced to leave his mom to go in a host house with two girls "Joyce" and "Patsy".
In this house, Lenny is gonna f
Sue Read
Sep 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
This book is set during the second world war and our main character, Lenny, is sent by his mother to a house in the country for safety. Lenny treasures a brass badge, depicting a lion and a unicorn, given to him by his father who is away fighting in the war. It's a story about separation and loneliness, but also bravery and courage. References to the badge and the lion and unicorn are sprinkled throughout the story.

I particularly like the descriptive language Shirley Hughes uses in this story;
Dec 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s-book, war
The book is about a child who has a father at war he must leave his mother and London because ofa bombing and a fire. He goes to a host family.
How does he live without his mother ?
Who is this mystery Mich ?
What does this badge mean to him?

This is realistic history , she is moving and touching. it is a good book !
it's a new point of view of the war
It's amazing happy end.

The author is Shirley Hughes ,it waspublished in 1998

May 09, 2019 rated it did not like it
I didn't find this book very interesting. "The Lion and the Unicorn" is a book for kids with a very long and annoying story. I didn't like the main character because he wets his bed in spite of being endearing. And yet, the book is moving because the boy is searching for his mother and finds her in the end. Wonderful Lenny ! ...more
Lenny is living in London during World War II when his mother decides that it is unsafe and sends him to the countryside. There, Lenny deals with bullying and nightmares. He clings to a medal (of a lion and a unicorn) that his father gave him; and Lenny learns that there is more than one type of courage.
Dec 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I recommend that children be introduced to all of Shirley Hughes' books. Every single one is beautiful and well written. This story of life on the homefront in WWII fit perfectly into our homeschool study of that era. ...more
Wilde Sky
Jul 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A young boy struggles when he is evacuated during WWII.

I thought this was a simple and effective story.

Reading time around thirty minutes.
Jan 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Everyone should read this
Jun 29, 2020 rated it liked it
I think the book is great, especially because of how well they get along. When I first got the book I wasn’t expecting that
Mary Farmer
Jul 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Looking forward to using this as the ‘class text’ for English during our World War 2 topic.
Iain Hesketh
Nov 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Lion And The Unicorn is a great book to read.
Ellie Blood
About a young boy who is evacuated from London. Story is about how he learns to cope and be brave. Useful book when teaching about ww2
Lou Elizabeth
Mar 06, 2019 rated it liked it
Read it with my class for our topic on WW2. Thought provoking but a bit lacking in character and charm for a kids book.
Gary Gotham
Sep 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
‘The Lion and the Unicorn’ is based on the experiences little Lenny Levi faces when he is evacuated from the city (to the countryside) during World War II. The Lion is a brilliant portrayal of Lenny’s fears. The Lion is a powerful animal which looks set to overpower Lenny...

Most children these days will struggle to relate to Lenny. The book, ‘The Lion and the Unicorn’, was set during WWII and so many of the problems Lenny encountered are an alien concept to us, thankfully.

In saying this, the stu
Mar 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
I read this with a year 1/2 class, and they loved it! We had lots of discussions about the story line, and most children had no or very little prior knowledge about evacuees. This was one of their favourite books to pick for us to read as a class, reading it in any spare time we had. The illustrations were beautifully intricate, and really added to the story. This would also be a great story to read with KS2 children, due to the themes and imagery.
Karen L.
Aug 08, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Families with kids from 8-11
Shelves: family-reads
Another good Shirley Hughes story for kids. The plot was "same old," but the characters and overall writing was pleasant. Again the illustrations are sweet. ...more
Jan 22, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I learned to keep believing and not to give up.
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Orphans of the Tide (Orphans of the Tide #1)
  • The Girl Who Stole an Elephant
  • Rose Blanche
  • A Picture Book of Dwight David Eisenhower
  • The Train to Impossible Places (The Train to Impossible Places, #1)
  • Where The Poppies Now Grow
  • A River
  • The Storm Whale
  • Tell Me a Dragon
  • Girl, Missing (Girl, Missing, #1)
  • National Geographic Animal Encyclopedia: 2,500 Animals with Photos, Maps, and More!
  • Masters of Mischief (The Misadventures of Max Crumbly #3)
  • The World’s Worst Teachers
  • Stories for Boys Who Dare to be Different
  • The Rainmaker Danced
  • Return
  • The Highland Falcon Thief
  • Journey
See similar books…
Shirley Hughes is the illustrator of more than two hundred children’s books and has won many prestigious awards, including the Kate Greenaway Medal twice. She is the author-illustrator of DON'T WANT TO GO! and OLLY AND ME 1 2 3. She lives in London. ...more

Related Articles

  Tami Charles is a former teacher and the author of picture books, middle grade and young adult novels, and nonfiction. As a teacher, she made...
44 likes · 65 comments