How to Hide a Lion


How to Hide a Lion was adpted for stage by the clever folks at The Polka Theatre. After a short tour last year, to amazing reviews and sell out audiences, it is touring the UK again this year. Click here to see the venues and dates.

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Accolades for How to Hide a Lion

How to Hide a Lion has sold in fourteen languages worldwide. It was nominated for the Greenaway Medal, the UKLA Awards, the Red House Children's Book Awards and the Stockport Children's Book Award. Winner of the Prix Livrentête, the Oldham Picture Book Award, and the Rotherham Picture Book Award. The Association of Senior Children’s and Education Librarians featured it in their list of stories which have been tried, tested and loved by children.

A small selection of the reviews

'Here, as in the Fatio/Duvoisin tale, a civilized lion trots into town and finds to his surprise that people react with panic. In this case, the lion hides first with a friendly little girl, later between stone lions until winning everyone over with a spontaneous act of heroism. "I told you he was a kind lion," the little girl says, in this enjoyable picture book for younger readers.' The Wall Street Journal

Helen Stephens must surely have had Louise Fatio and Roger Duvoisin's "The Happy Lion" (1954) as distant inspiration for the great cat in "How to Hide a Lion" (Henry Holt, 32 pages, $16.99). The two lions could be brothers, with their long noses, demurely downcast eyes and beautiful manners in the presence of hysterical humans. Here, as in the Fatio/Duvoisin tale, a civilized lion trots into town and finds to his surprise that people react with panic. In this case, the lion hides--first with a friendly little girl, later between stone lions--until winning everyone over with a spontaneous act of heroism. "I told you he was a kind lion," the little girl says, in this enjoyable picture book for younger readers. As a book with a strong and gentle animal hero and fetching illustrations, this can stand proudly on a shelf with such classics as "Crictor," "The Story of" "Ferdinand" and, of course, " Andy and the Lion."' Kirkus Reviews

Funny and warmhearted' Axel Scheffler, illustrator of the Gruffalo.

'I read How to hide a Lion with my son. We love it together' David Walliams

'Using a nostalgic style and subdued palette reminiscent of midcentury Little Golden Books masters like Richard Scarry — whose cover for 1956’s “Winky Dink” also featured a honey-hued lion offset by a similar robin’s-egg-blue background — the author-illustrator Helen Stephens shows how the pair’s friendship develops just outside the myopic view of Iris’s parents, even as the girl’s mother lounges, barefoot in her armchair, reading a tabloid with the front-page headline “Lion on the Run.” Despite the endless capacity for cluelessness among the adults in children’s books, Iris and the lion are eventually found out, and the great cat flees. Stephens wraps up her story neatly, with an affectionate callback to its very first page. Iris’s gentle admonishment to her parents — “I told you he was a kind lion” — feels less a rebuke than a reminder to approach the unknown not with prejudgment, but with an open heart.' The New York Times


More in the series

There's How to Hide a Lion, How to Hide a Lion from Grandma and How to Hide a Lion at School. I've just finished writing and illustrating How to Hide a Lion at Christmas and it is due to be published in October 2018. Join our mailing list at the bottom of this page so you don't miss a thing!


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