Philippa Pearce grew up in a millhouse near Cambridge and read English and history at Girton College. She was a scriptwriter-producer for the BBC, a children's book editor and reviewer, a lecturer, a storyteller and freelance writer for radio and newspapers as well as writing some of the best-loved books of the 20th century. She won a Carnegie Medal for TOM'S MIDNIGHT GARDEN and a Whitbread Prize for THE BATTLE OF BUBBLE AND SQUEAK.
Gr 2-5 Nine imaginative animal stories that range from fantasy to realism. Some of the stories are choppy, and they are not of the same quality as much of Pearce's earlier work, but many of the stories will still make entertaining reading for older children and delightful read-alouds for primary students. Some of the British phrases (pocket torch for flashlight, india rubber for eraser, anoraks instead of jackets) may need explanation. Sharpe's sketchy black-and-white illustrations capture the light mood of the stories and add additional humor. Lion at School is comparable in humor and in scope to other good short-story collections such as Heide's Tales for the Perfect Child (Lothrop, l985). Deanna J. McDaniel, Elmwood Elementary School, Lima, Ohio
This collection of nine tales, some whimsically fancy, some realistic family fare, delightfully taps children's secret experiences. Because of (and in spite of) feeling deprived, Judy's finger turns magically crooked; isolation enables Totty to befriend a dream manatee monster; and little or not, Suck-a-thumb communicates eloquently without words. In each story, an emotion, wish or force is somehow tamed, and in each, children will eagerly respond to Pearce's quick pacing, internally asking, ``And then?'' The length and underlying complexity of the stories make them ideal read-alouds, as Pearce intended. (5-9)