How to Hide a Lion

There are now four books in the How to Hide a Lion series!

Accolades for How to Hide a Lion

How to Hide a Lion has sold in nearly twenty 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

‘This seasonal addition to the How to Hide a Lion series provides more of the jolly, punchily illustrated same. Iris and her family are setting off for Auntie Sarah’s, but her parents insist the lion must stay behind; Sarah’s neighbours won’t appreciate him. Of course he doesn’t, and a familiar caper ensues, culminating in the lion meeting a certain bearded present-giver and having Christmas en famille.’ The Times Books of the Year 2018: The Best Children’s Books

‘In Helen Stephens’s How to Hide a Lion at Christmas, Iris’s gentle pet lion shares Christmas experiences in trains, homes and landscapes. A charming picture book about parting and reunion.’ The Times

'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


Watch the trailer for the irresistible fourth book in the bestselling How to Hide a Lion series by author and illustrator Helen Stephens. When the family go away for Christmas, Iris has to leave her lion behind. The lion can't bear to see Iris looking so sad, so he decides to sneak along, too.

How to Hide a Lion was adpted for stage by The Polka Theatre. Reviews for the theatre show: The Guardian, The British Theatre Guide, Children's Theatre Reviews, The Culture Whisperer, West End Wilma, The Observer