How to be a Lion
A story about what happens when a lion meets a duck - and finding the courage to be yourself.
Meet Leonard - a lion like no other. Leonard's best friend is Marianne, a duck. But lions chomp ducks, don't they?
Kirkus starred review - '...Readers will see an alternative male role model in Leonard: a strong-looking lion who thinks for himself, choosing creativity and friendship over superficial toughness. Author/illustrator Vere's illustrations are sturdy in their rough black outlines and large swaths of muted color, but they're evocative, too, in Leonard's expressiveness and the predominantly orange/saffron palette that conjures the atmosphere of an African savanna. Positive role models showing boys how to be a whole person are few and far between these days. This marvellous book triumphs in that essential job.'
School Library Journal - 'Children will feel empowered after reading such a deliberate story of unyielding strength and self-awareness. Thoughtful and provocative words to live by.'
Publishers Weekly - 'A gentle, Ferdinand-like soul… . Vere’s fable makes a watertight—and charming—case for ignoring the pressures of conformity.'
Teen Librarian - ...a beautiful meditation on the power of being different, ignoring the herd and being true to your beliefs, yourself and your friends... It is usually extremely hard to find a picture book of the year but for me, I think, it may be How to be a Lion!
The Bookseller - Leonard is a lion like no other: he loves poetry and daydreaming and his best friend is a duck. But how will the pair react when their way of life is threatened and the other lions insist Leonard should be fierce? Framed by a glowing palette of burnt yellows and oranges, and infused with humour and warmth, this thought-provoking fable celebrates courage, individuality and the power of words. A perfect book for all thinking lions (and all clever ducks, too).
Please consider buying at your local bookstore... alternatively;
This is the story of what happens when a lion meets a duck...
It's also my anti everything Trump stands for book.
I wrote it immediately after the 2016 US election campaign. One belligerent, bullying voice was getting all the attention. He's now the figurehead of the free world, setting a disastrous example. I can't help thinking that this voice will inevitably filter down to children and that they, inevitably, will learn from it, and possibly in time, learn to become like it.
I hope I've written a book that counters that voice, and the intolerance behind it. I think it's time we celebrate the power of quieter more thoughtful voices (anyone who's read Susan Cain's 'Quiet' may recognise this call).
I also wanted to address ‘toxic’ masculinity. If you remember, some truly awful quotes relating to women came from Trump. We need to demonstrate a different idea of masculinity. 'How to be a Lion' tries to show that being gentle, considerate and exhibiting a sensitive side are not weaknesses... they’re part of being a well rounded, thinking, human being.
How to be a Lion is a book about gentleness, and the power of words. Most importantly, it's a book about thinking for yourself and standing up for who you are.
(If all this sounds pretty didactic - I hope that the book isn't.)