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Gerald the Lion

Jessica Souhami
Otter-Barry Books
Age 3-5

Is Gerald a big, bold lion or a small, grey cat with a big imagination, or both?

Using bold, vibrant illustrations and large print, we follow Gerald on his search for adventure through the sometimes scary and noisy urban jungle beyond his front door. He encounters fierce animals and alien creatures, giants and dragons. But are they quite what they seem?

This story will ring true for young children who immerse themselves in different, more powerful, characters in their play. The extended joke will generate smiles of recognition and prompt children to share their experiences of the world outside their home.


Share the story

Read aloud

Read the story aloud, taking time to talk together about the pictures as you do. Encourage children to imagine what might happen next and turn the page to see if their predictions were right. Talking about the book deepens children’s enjoyment and understanding of the story.

Things to talk about

  • Take time to look and talk about the cover together. What do children notice? What kind of story might it be?

  • As you share the book together, allow time for children to respond to the differences between what the text and pictures say.

  • Talk together about anything they notice or wonder about the story, characters, illustrations or layout.

  • After finishing the book, share favourite parts of the story, including favourite illustrations, and talk about why they like them.

  • Talk about any connections with their own experience for example, characters they like to play, being scared or lost, what they see when going for a walk.

  • What would they tell someone else about this book?

Things to make and do

Make a zig-zag book about a walk to the park, shops or school.

  • Talk about the animals/people/vehicles they might see on the way.

  • Children can draw each one on a new page and write a caption underneath. Together, write the sounds of each in bold lettering- in crayon if available.

  • Read it through together as you go, and when it’s complete.

 Make a collage picture
Make a picture of a cat or a lion using different scrap materials such as paper, fabric, card. Look at the illustrations in the book and find more pictures/videos to help .

Act out the story
Using face-paint for whiskers children can act out the story as a bold lion and a little lost cat.

Find out more

Read about the author/illustrator Jessica Souhami

Read other books by the author/illustrator:

Please, Mr Magic Fish!

Rama and the Demon King

In the Dark, Dark Wood

Leopard’s Drum

King Pom



Mother Caught a Fl

One Potato, Two Potato

The Sticky doll trap

The Little, Little House

Mrs McCool and the GIANT Cuchulainn

The Strongest Boy in the World