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The Lion Inside


Rachel Bright, illus. Jim Field
Orchard Books
Age 3-7 years

A little mouse is fed up of feeling overlooked, he envies lion on top of his rock, he is so imposing and so confident. Mouse thinks that if he could roar like lion instead of squeak then maybe the other animals would notice him, and he would make friends. He realises the best way to learn to roar is to ask lion himself. Very bravely he climbs up to lion on his rock. Imagine his surprise when he finds out that lion is more frightened of him than he is of lion.

This is a story that acknowledges we are all scared sometimes but if we dare to be brave we can find our inner lion. It also shows there is no need to shout to make your self heard. Written in rhyme with some lovely words such as ‘tinyful’ and ‘toothsome’ this story is a delight to read aloud and fun return to. The bold illustrations are wonderful with some amazing close ups which emphasise the animals’ feelings.


Share the story

Read aloud
Before you start reading the book aloud look at the pictures on the cover and the title page and think together about what might happen in this story.

Read the story aloud taking time to pause to look closely at the wonderful illustrations or talk about what is happening when your child wants to.

Join in
When you return to the book children will love joining in with the roars, squeaks and other sound effects.


Talk about the story

  • Can you spot the lion on top of the rocks on the title pages and the first page of the story?

  • Talk about how the mouse and the lion feel at different points in the story – look back at the pictures to remind you.

  • Share favourite pictures, parts of the story and words. Give your ideas first eg ‘I like it when the lion is described as ‘toothsome’ – he sounds very scary.’

Ellie and Miles aged 2 and 8 months

‘Miles has been very impressed with the book and has been showing it to everyone who visits, it's very sweet. He liked seeing and naming all the different animals in the story and seeing what sizes they all are. We talked about the mouse feeling frightened and the lion being very loud. At the moment he has a couple of other books with naughty mice in so this was a nice change!

We had a lion afternoon this week and did some lion paintings, he wore his lion t-shirt, and we read the book and then did the building activity making the little mouse house and the lion's tower. It’s a lovely book.’


Things to make and do

Make the story world

  • Your child could make a little house for mouse out of construction bricks

  • Collect together boxes or cushions and stack them on top of each other to make lion’s rock if you have a model lion your child could put this on top

  • If you have other small animal toys you could arrange those too like the animals in the story

Play the story

  • Walk or pose like a proud lion.

  • Give your child a mirror so they practice growling like mouse does. They could roar like lion too and try looking scared.

  • Have an imaginary conversation between mouse and lion with one of you pretending to be lion and the other mouse.

Paint a picture

Give your child a large sheet of paper and some paints so that they can paint a big close-up picture of mouse and lion together. Talk with them about what they have painted afterwards.

Find out more

Read more books by author Rachel Bright here

Titles include:

My Sister is an alien

Love Monster

Also,  with the same illustrator Jim Field 

The Squirrels who squabbled

The Koala who could

Jim Field also illustrated the highly popular Oi Frog series of books with Kes Gray

Find out about another story about a lion and a mouse
Here is an animated version of Aesop’s fable of the lion and the mouse