The Lion and the Little Red Bird by Elisa Kleven

the lion and the little red bird pic
The Lion and the Little Red Bird

Story and Pictures by
Elisa Kleven


When you have young children, you accumulate a lot of books and this wonderful book quickly made it to the top of our pile. It’s a gentle story about the friendship between a majestic lion and a small bird and it’s a nice lesson to children, explaining how you can be different and still be special friends.

When a little red bird discovers a lion with an unusual bushy green tail, she is delighted. Just looking at him makes her happy.

She sings to him and asks him about his tail. And although the lion doesn’t understand the bird’s language, he smiles. Her songs make him happy and they become friends.

Each day, the bird and the lion venture out in their world. They visit fields of flowers, a deep blue lake, and meadows full of berries. Each night, the lion returns to his cave and the little red bird sleeps in a nearby nest. And when the lion comes out of his cave each morning, the bird is astonished to see that his tail is a new color. One day it’s orange, the next day it’s blue.

What is the lion’s secret? She chirps her questions. He smiles at the beauty of her song. So they continue until one night a storm comes and washes away the bird’s nest. And when the lion brings his small friend into his cave, she finally discovers his beautiful secret.

Is it okay to get choked up over a children’s story? This one does that to me and I give it five stars for the way it makes me feel! Add that feeling to the author’s beautiful illustrations and you will understand why I love this book.

Elisa Kleven
Elisa Kleven

Elisa Kleven is an American writer and illustrator of many children’s books, her own and others.   She has received national recognition and awards from The American Library Association, the New York Times, the Junior Library Guild, School Library Journal and the American Institute of Graphic Arts. Her titles have been Booklist editor choices and have been selected by PBS and Rainbow Books.

You should check out her own amazing website, which is full of details about her childhood and her career. As a young girl, she spent much of her time designing, decorating and playing with a doll house she kept in her closet. Look at the details in this doll house!

Isn't this neat?
Isn’t this neat?

Kleven grew up in a family that encouraged creativity. Her grandmother was a sculptor.  Her mother was an artist and created this famous etching, titled  “Primer” and  shown below:

Anyone who grew up in the sixties and seventies knows this poster!
Anyone who grew up in the sixties and seventies knows this poster!

Be sure to visit Kleven’s website at

Thanks to Wikipedia for additional information.

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