Age Range: 3 to 6
Have you ever eaten the same cereal for weeks and weeks so that you can claim the free gift inside? If yes, you will identify with the characters in There’s a Lion in My Cornflakes which won the picture book category in The Sainsbury’s Children’s Book Award 2014.
The Story: Two little boys spend all their pocket money on cornflakes so that they can collect enough coupons to win a lion. When they finally have enough the cereal company has run out of lions so they send a bear instead. The boys’ complaints lead to the cereal company sending a variety of animals but no lion. When Dad complains, the company tells him they can keep all the animals. They also give him a free gorilla and a lifetime’s supply of cornflakes. The boys find that the animals can be quite useful and like the fact that their animals aren’t lions like everybody elses. But then comes an advert for the next promotion…
Michelle Robinson has given a familiar scenario a humorous twist with the introduction of wild animals. The boys need to save 100 coupons to claim their free lion but that’s a lot of boxes of cornflakes. Unsurprisingly Mum gets mad when she finds out what they have done and makes them eat cornflakes for every meal! One of our favourite illustrations shows Mum and Dad eating delicious meals while the boys eat cornflakes. The humour continues throughout the story with the arrival of each animal but there is also a great underlying message, you don’t always have to follow the crowd and be / have the same as everybody else.
Jim Field’s wonderful illustrations include so many humorous touches that it’s difficult to choose our favourites. I love the page with the boys impatiently waiting for their lion (including brother Dan picking his nose!) and my daughter spends ages poring over the double page spread showing the lions in the park, there is so much to look at and talk about. The text is easy to read and is complemented by the humorous details in the pictures, there’s even a pictorial reference to Judith Kerr’s Tiger.
Parents will identify with Mum and Dad’s emotions and actions in There’s a Lion In My Cornflakes and children enjoy the humour and the details in the pictures. It’s a very amusing and original story.