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Cover image for If I were a lion
If I were a lion
1st ed.
Publication Information:
New York : Atheneum Books for Young Readers, ©2004.
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 27 cm
A little girl pleads her innocence from her time-out chair by contrasting her behavior with that of wild and ferocious animals.
Added Author:


Call Number
JP Weeks
JP Wee

On Order



I'm sitting in the time-out chair because my mother put me there. She said, "You try my patience, child! I do not like it when you're wild."
Who me?
That is so absurd.
How could she even use that word?
If I were a lion.
I'd growl and roar
And knock the dishes on the floor...
AND if I were a bear...
If I Were a Lion is a book for every child who's ever been sent to the time-out chair -- unjustly...or otherwise!

Author Notes

Sarah weeks was born March 18, 1955 in Ann Arbor Michigan. She received her BA from Hampshire College and her MFA from New York University. Sarah is the author of numerous best-selling children's books including Glamourpuss, Woof!: A Love Story, Sophie Peterman Tells the Truth, If I Were a Lion, the hilarious Mrs. McNosh series, and many more.

Sarah's book, So B. It, made the New York Times bestseller list in 2015.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 5

School Library Journal Review

PreS-Gr 1-When a young girl is sent to a time-out chair, she defends herself by asking, "Wild?/Who me?" With wide-eyed innocence, she proclaims: "Wild has feathers./Wild has scales./Wild has whiskers, tusks, and tails./Wild is furry./Wild is strong./Wild does not know/right from wrong." As she describes each characteristic, unruly animals take over the kitchen and living room-snorting, charging, and growling as they break dishes, overturn furniture, and create messes. The narrator seems to be surprised by their antics, but the gleam in her eye makes it obvious that she's not as innocent as she appears. So who created the havoc-the animals or this "meek and mild" child? Sharp-eyed readers will enjoy spotting the toys being blamed for the disasters; the endpapers, with numerous stuffed animals strewn haphazardly across them, provide another clue. Solomon adds to the humor by giving the youngster oversized features that make her appear cartoonlike, but with a painterly touch just shy of realistic. Splashes of salt resist on each page form a soft patterned background for the carpeting. An interesting combination of gouache brush strokes scattered over watercolor washes captures the texture of fur and feathers. Pair this book with Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are (HarperCollins, 1988) for another protagonist whose imagination runs rampant when he's confined, and to create a storytime that will grab the attention of children who have been placed in a time-out.-Laurie Edwards, West Shore School District, Camp Hill, PA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publisher's Weekly Review

When a little girl is accused of being "wild" and forced to have a time-out, she imagines how truly wild beasts would respond to her mother's requests. "The punchy verse and wealth of visual detail will stand up to repeat readings," wrote PW. Ages 3-7. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Horn Book Review

A preschooler banished to a time-out chair for being ""wild"" defends herself--""Am I howling? / Do I bark? / Rummage through / the trash at dark?""--while conjuring images of her (obedient) self watching various animals tear apart the house. The narration is implausibly sophisticated for a child this age, but the painstaking watercolor and gouache images of her fantasy life are just right. (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.

Kirkus Review

A little red-haired girl defends herself against her mother's accusation of wildness in a very inventive way. With her round face just this side of caricature, she protests being in the time-out chair in the rhymed text. "Wild? / Who me? / That's so absurd. / How could she even use that word?" While one might wonder what this little tyke is doing using words like that (and "precocious," later on), we listen as she describes kinds of wild: like a lion, breaking dishes and scaring the cat; greeting visitors with outstretched tongue like a frog; rummaging through the garbage like a coyote. In each case, the animal in question, in fine, full frenzy, appears in the picture frame of a perfectly normal house, wreaking the described havoc in gorgeous pinks, lavenders, and aquas. In the end, she's pushed them all into a box that she, in the time-out chair, is sitting on, as apt a metaphor for controlling one's behavior as can be envisioned. Tremendous read-aloud possibilities. (Picture book. 5-8) Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

PreS-Gr. 1. Banished to a corner for wild behavior, a toddler launches a spirited self-defense by imagining truly wild beasts (inspired by her collection of animal toys) running rampant through her living room--and comparing herself favorably to them. Weeks' verses are clever (Wild's ferocious. Wild will bite. I'm precocious and polite ), but the girl's sophisticated voice doesn't jibe with her apparent age, and it must be said that a punishment leading to fanciful encounters with wild things is a premise that has been used before. Solomon's watercolor-and-gouache art, though, is a showstopper. In a brighter, freer style than that of her debut, Clever Beatrice (2001), she renders the animals with meticulous precision and ratchets up the sense of chaos with dizzying perspectives, elements breaching the boundaries of frames, and eye-teasing patches of collage. The protagonist's gnomish figure doesn't have instant appeal, but the hints of wildness that belie her prim words (walls adorned with crayon scribbles, scattered stuffed animals) will resonate with occasionally beastly kids as well as their parents. --Jennifer Mattson Copyright 2004 Booklist