Lovely Old Lion from Julia Jarman and Susan Varely is a beautiful picture book, with a kind heart.
Jarman’s narrative imparts the story of Lenny the lion. His much revered and respected Grandpa is the ‘kind and clever’ King Lion. Unfortunately, Lenny starts to notice confusing changes in Grandpa’s behaviour.
‘King Lion kept getting muddled.
He even mixed up night and day.’
He even observes that his Grandpa looks different,
‘Grandpa used to look proud and kingly.
but now he looked worried and tired.’
This can be a quite scary time for little ones, simply through not understanding what is happening to a beloved family member, in this case the onset of dementia. Jarman’s narrative really helps little readers to comprehend the changes, and through Lenny’s character … how to help.
With the help of his jungle friends Lenny helps Grandpa remember his past. They reminisce over old photos, and tell stories of past adventures. The narrative realistically conveys the message that ‘they couldn’t stop his tired old brain from wearing out’ alongside how little ones can help. Such a warm story.
Susan Varley’s beautifully rendered illustrations are warm and comforting, with a timeless feel to them.
Lovely Old Lion is a thoughtful picture book which will help keep the bond between grandparents & children strong.