The Lion Inside
by Rachel Bright (words) and Jim Field (illustrations), published by Orchard
Books

It’s a very helpful life skill to be able to find
your inner roar and act like a brave lion, whether it’s your first time in the
big class at nursery school – or indeed if it’s your first time dropping off
your three year old daughter for her first day in the big class.

We’ve written before about our daughter’s love of
picturebooks that feature lions – notably Lionheart and Lion Practice – and The
Lion Inside is certainly worthy of joining this pride.

It’s a pitch-perfect tale of a teeny, meek mouse that
goes in search of its inner roar. Fed up with being unnoticed and living alone
in a house under a rock, mouse sets out to learn how to roar like the loudest
lion in the Savannah, the King of the jungle, the envy of all the animals.

We accompany mouse’s quest, its large ears drooping
by its side, clutching its tail for comfort. Mouse’s journey is set against
sweeping landscapes and pages filled with eye catching details – from the pot
plant on the window sill of its ‘tinyful’ house to the ‘How to Roar’ book by A
A Mouse.

Jim Field’s beautiful illustrations are perfectly
matched to Rebecca Bright’s fun, lyrical narrative. There are enjoyable moments
of genuine suspense as mouse climbs to the top of the rock where lion lays
sleeping, and asks with a squeak for help, expecting to become the lion’s
lunch. They come nose to nose, and a tremendous double page spread reveals the
scale of lion’s enormous face and mane towering over mouse.

But lion’s quiff and expressive eyebrows suddenly
become limp and instead of a roar he lets out a huge “EEEEEEK!”; for
lion, we learn, is afraid of mice. Realising they each have something to offer
the other, they overcome their fears through friendship:

“Yes, that day
they BOTH learned
that, no matter
your size,
we all have a mouse
AND a lion
inside.”