The Lesson is in the Journey
From the moment we meet Lionel it’s obvious that he would rather be anywhere else but on stage and we can see that in his face and body language. He is painfully shy, preferring solitude in the tall grass over a crowd of other Lions.
Throughout Lionel’s Journey in the book, he goes through a range of emotions that charts his growth from fear to confidence. In the beginning, Lionel had become comfortable staying out of sight, avoiding being seen and heard. It wasn’t until he started to reach maturity that it became important for him to showcase his skills so that he’ll leave the pride and become independent.
His concerns soon shift shame at the idea that he might get stuck in the pride and be faced with the same challenge every year until he finally performs. The thought of missing his opportunity to graduate and being left behind was enough to motivate him into action.
My name is Lionel the Lion, and I was oh so shy, I would hide out behind anything I could find.”Lionel the Lion, By Angelina Henry
In the beginning of the story, Lionel is visibly anxious as he attempts to hide out behind the tall grass, a tree and even his own hand, in an attempt to avoid standing on stage to perform his graduation roars.
“Then I began roaring classes, and made excuses for why —I just could not take the stage, but it was all a lie.”
To further avoid his responsibility, he makes silly excuses for why he couldn’t possibly perform each day. Every time lionel was excused from roaring class he would receive a big red “X” beside his name. After a while, the prospect of not passing the class and being left behind became unbarable.
When he realizes that he was failing, and that it was his own fault he became embarrassed and ashamed that he may not graduate.
One day After once again, making excuses for why he couldn’t possibly perform his roar —We follow along as he recounts the core of his problems. It’s revealed that he is in fact a great performer, but his introversion was holding him back.
Lionel comes to the conclusion that he would rather face the anxiety of performing on stage, than to get left behind. He gets on stage and shares his resonating roar with his community.
Ultimately, Lionel the Lion’s roar is so well received, that he develops pride in his performance ability. Although he’s still a very shy guy, he overcame his anxieties and no longer allows them have control over his life.
By the end of the story, Lionel the Lion is filled with the confidence that although he is quite shy, he can and will achieve his goals while performing at a high level.
Surprisingly performing happened to be one of his greatest gifts. Once he got over the fear of getting on stage, he totally blew the crowd away with his resonant roar!
Lionel the Lion is a hero’s journey where the hero (Lionel) is faced with a common dilemma, stay in his comfort zone, or rescue himself from failure by taking action.
You can grab a copy of Lionel the Lion here and add a dose of courage to your bookshelf. Written and Illustrated by Angelina Henry, Lionel the Lion is the perfect book to read anytime you feel like you’re giving up before you truly try.