It’s been a while since the last collection of Lions, Tigers and Bears was out – three years to be exact – but Joey, Courtney and their stuffed animal friends are back to do battle with the Beasties in this third collection of the all-ages tale, Greybeard’s Ghost.
The series tells the tale of Joey, an adventurous boy who, like many eight year olds, can occasionally be frightened by the world around him. To help make him feel safe, his grandmother has given him a set of stuffed animals who, it turns out, can come to life and protect Joey from the mean Beasties who live in a world on the other side of the closet. Joey’s friend, Courtney, is “heir to the line of makers responsible for creating the magic stuffed animals” and accompanies Joey on his adventures.
In Greybeard’s Ghost, Courtney’s cousin, Beth, is spirited away by the Beasties to the Stuffed Animal Kingdom and Joey, Courtney and their animal friends, Ares, Minerva, and Henry, set off to rescue Beth from the mean old Beasties. Along the way, they are captured and kept aboard a pirate ship, escape to find Greybeard, and battle the Beasties with Greybeard’s skeleton army. It’s a non-stop undertaking that is packed with peril, pitfalls, and precariousness, and it’s a darn fun read too.
There’s a lot of adventure packed into the 128 pages of this book, which is broken into four sections, each sized nicely for a block of reading, along with a bonus story at the end. Lions, Tigers and Bears is an enjoyable all-ages romp that parents can enjoy alongside their kids. It’s exciting and fun and the premise of stuffed animals protecting kids from what lurks in dark closets is one that many parents (and kids) can appreciate. The one caveat is that some of the Beasties, especially Grillus with his huge mouthful of sharp teeth, may frighten younger readers. But in the end, the kids are all safe and the animals have upheld their end of the bargain, protecting Joey, Courtney, and Beth. Lions, Tigers and Bears is one of a growing number of all ages books that doesn’t dumb down its writing to try to appeal to kids. The result is a rewarding experience that leaves readers feeling like they have been part of something on an epic scale.
Plus, Joey, Courtney and the stuffed animal crew are likely to hit the big screen sometime soon, with Paramount recently hiring Adam Jay Epstein and Andrew Jacobson, of The Familiars fame, to write the screen adaptation. So get a leg up and check out Lions, Tigers and Bears today.
Disclosure: GeekDad was sent a review copy of this book.