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Crockett Johnson's Books: The Ellen Series

Ellen's Lion | The Lion's Own Story

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Ellen's Lion (1959): cover
Godine, 1984
Ellen's Lion: Twelve Stories (1959)
       Ellen, a preschooler with an energetic imagination, goes on many adventures with her lion. In contrast to Ellen, the lion is skeptical, unsentimental ("I'm nothing but a stuffed animal. I have no feelings"), and can be reluctant to participate in her games. But, with Ellen, he visits Arabia by train, serves as Ellen's ailing patient, and becomes her second pair of eyes so that she may safely get a drink of water at night. Despite his claims that he lacks feelings, the lion also serves as a sympathetic ear and sounding-board for Ellen.
       According to Lee Bennett Hopkins, this book and its sequel (below) were Johnson's personal favorites.
       Three stories from Ellen's Lion -- "Conversation and Song," "Two Pairs of Eyes," and "The New Squirrel" -- appear in You Read to Me & I'll Read to You: 20th-Century Stories to Share (edited by Janet Schulman), published in September of 2001.
Ellen's Lion (2003): cover
Alfred A. Knopf, 2003
The Lion's Own Story (1963): cover
Harper, 1963
The Lion's Own Story: 8 New Stories about Ellen's Lion (1963)
       Although Ellen is still in nursery school in this book, she seems a bit more experienced than she was in Ellen's Lion. She still playacts scenes with her lion, but a few of these -- "A Kind of Silence" and "Somebody to Blame" -- more explicitly address her relationships with adults. As in Ellen's Lion, grown-ups never enter the world of Ellen and her lion. There, the two paint, participate in a circus, and -- in the first tale -- tell about the lion's life before he came to live with Ellen and her family.

Cartoons: Barnaby and Barkis | Harold | Ellen | Others: 1950s | Others: 1960s | Other: 2005 | Collaborations | In Translation

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Last updated Tuesday, August 2, 2005.