Thursday, October 8, 2015

Book Review: Roar by Julie Bayless (2015)

In the middle of the night, a restless lion cub wanders off looking for a friend, but all the animals save one boisterous rabbit are frightened by his roar.

This book is mostly wordless, and the bulk of the story is told visually using comic panels and speech bubbles to indicate the sounds the individual animals make. The deep blues and purples of the night-time scenes create a calm, serene backdrop that highlights the lion cub's contrasting high energy as he romps through the savanna. The various animals he encounters - the other lions in his family, groups of hippos and giraffes, and his new rabbit friend - are all infused with great personalities, which come across in the subtleties of their facial expressions and body language. Also very easy to read in the illustrations is the instant bond that forms between the lion and the rabbit, as the cub says, "Roar!" and the rabbit says, "More!" over and over again.

I am generally a proponent of sharing wordless and nearly-wordless books as read-alouds, and I have read this one to Little Miss Muffet many times, at her insistence. (She loves lions.) It works fairly well as a lap book, because I can point to each panel as we explore it, so she knows where I am in the story, and I can respond to any detail that Miss Muffet happens to want to talk about based on where she points.

I like this book more with each re-reading. It reminds me somewhat of Goodnight, Gorilla, in that it chronicles an animal's night-time hi-jinks, and its playful tone also makes it ideal for readers who have liked Red Sled and Red Hat by Lita Judge.

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