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Description - The Lion and the Unicorn by Shirley Hughes

As Lenny's father goes off to fight in the second world war he gives his son a brass badge with a lion and a unicorn on it. Lenny keeps it with him when bombs are dropped on his street and when he has to be evacuated to a big house in the country. He misses his parents a great deal and the other children there and at school are spiteful in teasing him. But he finds a secret walled garden to escape to with a stone unicorn. Here he meets the wounded soldier Mick and learns again how hard it is to be brave. It is the unicorn who finally rescues him from his sadness and loneliness and proves itself to be his guardian angel by bringing his mother to him.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780099256083
ISBN-10: 0099256088
Format: Paperback
(280mm x 230mm x 8mm)
Pages: 64
Imprint: Red Fox
Publisher: Random House Children's Publishers UK
Publish Date: 7-Sep-2000
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Other Editions - The Lion and the Unicorn by Shirley Hughes

Book Reviews - The Lion and the Unicorn by Shirley Hughes

UK Kirkus Review » Shirley Hughes is well known for her stories for younger children, but her longer texts are rich in images and language that will entrance more mature readers. This latast is a beautifully balanced tale about how a father's stories of his travels inspire his children to make up stories and adventures of their own. Enchantment in the Garden is a magical tale of a lonely girl who brings to life a statue of a boy on a dolphin's back whose father was a sea god and who must return to the sea. The Lion and the Unicorn is a deeply moving story of a young boy who is evactuatd during World War Two. All are expressively illustrated. (Kirkus UK)

US Kirkus Review » From Hughes (Enchantment in the Garden, 1997, etc.), a WWII story with big ambitions - many of them realized - set out in the pages of an unusually long picture book. Lenny Levi lives in London with his mother during the Blitz, cherishing the letters from his father at the front, and the medal of the lion and the unicorn his father gave him. When Lenny is evacuated to the country, he finds himself at a huge old manor with three little girls, the lady of the house, and a few servants. He is lonely, teased at school and at home for not eating bacon and for bedwetting, but makes a friend of the young man with one leg he meets in the secret garden on the estate. The garden, thick with roses, also holds a beautiful statue of a unicorn like the one on his medal. As Lenny's loneliness and fear spiral out of control, a night vision of the unicorn brings him back; his mother comes to take them both to his aunt in Wales, where his father will join them. The storyline, while straightforward, hints at difficult subjects - religious differences, amputees, separation, family disruptions, the terror of bombing, and more - which are then given only cursory treatment. The pictures are splendid: luminous, full-bodied watercolors that capture the horror of London burning, the glory of the countryside, and mists of dreams. It may be difficult for this to find its audience, but children too young for Michelle Magorian's GoodNight. Mr. Tom (1986) might be captured. (Kirkus Reviews)


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Author Biography - Shirley Hughes

Shirley was born in West Kirby, near Liverpool, and studied fashion and dress design at Liverpool Art School, before continuing her studies at the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art in Oxford. She then embarked on a career as a freelance illustrator in London, where she still lives today. She illustrated other writers' work, including Noel Streatfeild, Alison Uttley, Ian Seraillier, Margaret Mahy and notably Dorothy Edwards's My Naughty Little Sister series. Shirley began to write and draw her own picture books when her children were young. Her first book - Lucy and Tom's Day - was published in 1960, and she followed it with, among others, Dogger and the Alfie series. Shirley Hughes has won the Other Award, the Eleanor Farjeon Award, and the Kate Greenaway Medal for Illustration twice, for Dogger in 1977 and for Ella's Big Chance in 2003. In 2007 Dogger was voted the public's favourite Greenaway winner of all time. Shirley received an OBE in 1999 for services to Children's Literature.

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