Jim’s Lion by Russell Hoban, illustrated by Alexis Deacon

My new favourite book.

I have been using it for the last 2 weeks during guided reading at school. The kids love it. The mix of pages with type, double page spread illustrations and dream sequence comic book illustrations make this book particularly special.

The book is about Jim, a young boy with a life threatening illness. Jim needs surgery. He is terrified. His dreams take him to some dark, frightening places. The magicians and child entertainers from the hospital become rabbits operating on him with giant saws and boxes. The surgery lights above the operating table morph into mechanical spiders. He becomes lost in vast labyrinths.

Fortunately for Jim, help arrives in the form a kind nurse from Africa called Bami. She tells him to search for his finder animal in his good place. The next night Jim is confronted with a lion. At first Jim feels threatened by the majestic animal, but Bami reassures him and offers him her ‘don’t run stone’. This becomes very useful to Jim. The lion, his finder, helps save Jim from his terrifying dreams.

The book has been masterfully adapted and re-imagined by Alexis Deacon, whose skill as a storyteller and as an illustrator, make this already beautiful story something to be truly treasured.

I have already bought 3 more copies in hardback, one for myself and 2 for gifts.

Also, there are some lovely hidden gems for the avid reader to find.

I would like to thank Mathew Tobin for recommending the book and to Walker Books for sending me a review copy.

I Am Henry Finch By Alexis Deacon Illustrated by Viviane Schwarz

Every now and then a picture book collaboration comes along that is really exciting: Mac Barnet & Jon Klassen; Lemony Snicket & Jon Klassen; Mac Barnet & Christian Robinson.

Currently, Alexis Deacon & Viviane Schwarz, two outstanding picture book creators. Beegu by Alexis Deacon is one of my all time favourite picture books.

I Am Henry Finch is a blindingly brilliant book about courage and making a difference. It’s a picture book for the young philosopher. As Descartes famously said, ‘I think, therefore I am’ or was that Henry Finch? The philosophical proof of existence based on the fact that something capable of any form of thought necessarily exists.

Henry Finch is an inspiration to all other ambitious winged creatures that strive for greatness.

Out now & published by Walker Books.