Red Light, Green Lion
In this clever book, a green lion is waiting at a red traffic light. While he waits, a series of unexpected events occur, involving such things as lightning, a lilac, library books and lima beans. Or rather, “li-ghtning,” “li-lac,” “li-brary books,” and “li-ma beans” because the text on each spread ends with “Red light, green li-,” and the reader must turn the page to see the whole word --- and what's happened. All the while, the lion calmly and helpfully deals with whatever shows up (even loading livestock into a lifeboat!) and wryly muses about the way life can be. “Some days are not like most days,” the lion explains at the beginning. But as all children know: those days are usually the most fun!
This charming, sometimes silly, philosophical picture book is inspired by the popular childhood game Red Light, Green Light. Candace Ryan's text is simple, and the repeated refrain allows for guessing what (green) surprise comes next, making for an engaging read-aloud. Jennifer Yerkes's illustrations have a fresh look, with a limited palette and spare, expressive lines. The collaboration of story and design --- using color and muted tones for the refrain --- keeps the concept easy to understand. Important life lessons are shared with simplicity, clarity and beauty: “Some days we get exactly what we need, exactly when we need it.” “And some days, nothing goes the way we thought it would.” This would make a delightful choice for character education lessons on kindness, teamwork and inclusiveness.