Chloe and the Lion

Written by Mac Barnett, Illustrated by Adam Rex

Chloe and the Lion is essentially a book about writing and illustrating a book, the creative process, collaboration, “creative differences,” and the nature of authorship. It begins with the author, Mac, and the illustrator, Adam, introducing themselves. Then they begin to tell and illustrate a story about the girl Chloe, who is wandering through the forest with a jarful of nickels on her way to the park to ride the merry-go-round. Along the way, a huge lion leaps out at her from behind a tree, but Adam draws a giant dragon instead of a lion, because he thinks it will be more scary. The story stops, Mac and Adam argue, and ultimately Mac fires Adam as illustrator and brings on a new artist, Hank, who he instructs to draw a lion and have the lion swallow Adam whole. Things go from bad to worse as eventually the second illustrator fails to meet Mac’s expectations and he tries to illustrate the story himself. Will Chloe ever get her story back? Will Adam and Mac make amends?

The story is extremely funny, and it is great for teaching about how books are created and the roles of author and illustrator. The illustrations are a fascinating mix of clay-sculpted characters and pencil sketches which are cut out and placed as stand ups on stage, for a three-dimensional look much like play scenery and stop-motion claymation. It’s an extremely unique and multifaceted technique, and it really underscores the theatrics of the story.

I absolutely loved this book and recommend it for all elementary schools. This will show up on lots of end of the year lists, and perhaps even be a prize-winner if it is not deemed too silly. I’m hoping so.

Review by Joshua Whiting, GSD Ed. Tech./Library Media Specialist
Rating: 5 Stars
Interest Level: Grades K-Adult

Chloe and the Lion
Written by Mac Barnett, Illustrated by Adam Rex
Disney Hyperion
48 pages
Release Date: April 3, 2012
ISBN: 9781423113348 (hardcover)

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1 thought on “Chloe and the Lion”

  1. Josh, i just loved this book too. It was so clever and fun. Reading and watching the author and the illustrator arguing with each other, the replacement illustrators, etc. was brilliant. It really felt like you were watching this play on a stage. I shared this book with my grandkids and we all just laughed out loud and had a wonderful time.

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