Bits & Bobs We ♥: The Hugging Lion

by Andrea on February 20, 2012

Mo and I stroke gold during a recent trip to the library.  Sitting up on the window sill, was Christian, the Hugging Lion, by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell.

Hmmm… could this be about THE hugging lion, aka the youtube sensation?  If you have not seen this youtube video, please take a few minutes to do so.  You’ll thank me!

You cried, right?  I cried the first time I watched that video.  But here’s the kicker, I cried reading this book to Mo.  And, not just the first time.  I probably read the book ten times to him, and I cried the first seven times, and choked up the other three.

I am not sure if the story is the exact story, or if the authors took some liberties with the children’s book.  In the book, it starts off with Christian the lion, being sold at Harrods.  At that time, Harrods said they could sell anything, and here is little Christian waiting for a home.

The story then continues as two boys, John and Ace, take Christian home and lead a fun ‘normal’ life together.  Christian goes for walks at the park, naps on the sofa, and watches birds out the window.  Normal, right? But Christian kept growing, and they decided it would be best for Christian if he had space to roam free. They boarded a plane and took him to Kenya.

As a mom, I thought about Christian as their baby and how much John and Ace loved Christian. But then as Christian grew up, they knew in their hearts that the right thing was to let him go.  (Given that Mo is only 18 months, I can’t even begin to fathom that day.) So yes, there were tears of sadness, or anticipated future sadness, as I read this book.  But as you saw in the video, the story doesn’t end there!

Years later, the boys fly to Kenya and go looking for Christian.  As I’m reading this to Mo, tears of joy were streaming down my face as Christian recognizes and then hugs them.

I found this illustration in particular to be overwhelmingly joyful.

We have since returned the book back to the library, but I plan on picking up a copy next time we’re at a bookstore.  This sweet story tenderly captures the essence of friendship. Check it out next time you are at the library or your local bookstore.

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