Skip to content

The Three Happy Lions

Louise Fatio, illus. Roger Duvoisin
Scallywag Press
Age 5-7 years

First published over 60 years ago this is a delightful picturebook about a lion cub trying to find where he fits in. Born in a zoo, his parents wonder what he should do in the future. During the story, the young lion grows up, leaves the zoo and experiences life firstly as a pet and later as a circus lion but he doesn’t fit happily into either role. Eventually he discovers his true vocation and is reunited with his family.

NB The book is set in France, this story includes a few French phrases which could be looked up on services such as Google Translate if necessary.


Share the story

Read aloud
Read the story aloud to your child. Your child may be interested to hear the French phrases you could look up or translate these words for your child.

Join in
Encourage your child to join in as you read with phrases such as ‘and grew, and grew and grew’ and also with the beginning of the story with first one happy lion then two and then three.

Talk about the story

Talk about whether your child has ever seen a lion in real life perhaps at a wildlife park or zoo.
Does your child know any other stories about lions?
Talk about where lions really live should they be kept in zoos or circuses.
What would your child like to do when they are older?

Watch a reading of the first book in the series The Happy Lion read aloud

Things to make and do

Draw a picture
Draw a family of happy lions

Create a scene from the story

Children could use their toys to re-create a scene from the story eg at the Zoo, the rich lady’s house or at the circus. Role play the scene together using toys as characters.

Make a book
Make a zig zag book with pictures and words describing the main things which happen.

Write a letter
Write a letter to the Mayor, as if you are Francois, asking for an official job helping the gardener.

Find out more

Find out about lions and where they live CBeebies – Little Big Cat, Lion Factfile ( Land of the Lions | Zoological Society of London (ZSL)

Find out about zoos What are zoos for? – BBC Teach

For more lion themed fun on Lovemybooks see our activity pages for:

 How to Hide a Lion by Helen Stephens

The Lion Inside by Rachel Bright and Jim Field  





Find out more