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Honey... Honey... Lion! A Story from Africa Hardcover – August 25, 2005


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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Kindergarten-Grade 2–This title is based on the legend of the honeyguide, an African bird that leads an animal to a honeycomb and then shares the spoils once the stronger creature has broken it open. In Brett's version, Honeyguide takes revenge upon a greedy honey badger that refuses to share the sweet treat. She leads him on a merry chase that ends up not at a honeycomb but at the lair of a lion. Badger's pursuit of the honeyguide and flight from the lion are reminiscent of We're Going on a Bear Hunt, with each landmark and sound effect revisited on the return journey. Brett has created another lush winner with beautifully detailed illustrations of the animals and a clear, fast-paced story. Honeyguide's anger and subsequent punishment of Badger is witnessed by the other animals that form a bush telegraph, passing news along from individual to individual. This process is visualized on the edges of each page in typical Brett style–a story within a story. This lovely title works equally well for storyhours or for one-on-one sharing. Readers interested in other versions of the legend can check out Francesca Martin's The Honey Hunters (Candlewick, 1994).–Kara Schaff Dean, Needham Public Library, MA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

PreS-Gr. 2. Honeyguide, an African bird, has always helped her friend Badger find honey, and in turn, the team always devours the sweet hives together. One day, Badger greedily consumes the honey himself, so his feathered friend gets mad. The next day she leads Badger on a wild hunt for what he thinks is honey. Through the baobab roots ("Pitter, patter!"), into the water hole ("Splish, splash!"), over the termite mound ("Sprong!"), and straight into an acacia bush, the resting spot of a soon-to-be-angry lion, which readers can see by lifing a flap. Brett brings her traditionally ornate style to an African setting, specifically Botswana's Okavango Delta, forming patterns with skins, seeds, and feathers to craft her careful borders. Side panels reveal myriad African animals spreading the news through the plains of Badger's betrayal via "bush telegraph," from elephant to hippo, hippo to warthog, warthog to hyena. Badger and Honeyguide's sound-effect-filled trek guarantees a lively read-aloud. Karin Snelson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Lexile Measure: 710L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Putnam; First Printing edition (August 25, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399244638
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399244636
  • Product Dimensions: 11.2 x 0.4 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #165,647 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jan Brett is the author of the New York Times bestselling Gingerbread Friends, The Three Snow Bears, and The Mitten, as well as many other classics. She lives in Norwell, Massachusetts.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A. C. Shellhase on September 20, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
not a true representation of the fierceness of a Honey badger (Ratel) in the wild. Even leopards don't mess with them; neither will a lion. Badgers are fierce animals, loyal to their families, and great hunters on their own. Honey is just a treat; a dessert, though it is true a Ratel will work with a Pilot bird to find the honey caches.

That said, this story is based on an African tale and teaches a lesson in sharing. Not only is the coloring and look of an African badger correct, the trees, plants, and other animals are, too. (I know having been to Africa)

So, as a story, moral tale, and example of elaborate illustrations, this book is quite excellent. It's up there with Wind in the Willows, the Foxwood series, Percy the Parkkeeper stories, and many, many more that feature the badger for a juvenile audience.

If you want more accurate information about badgers, there are many other factual books available for children and adults.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on February 24, 2006
Format: Hardcover
The book takes place in Africa. It is a great book because the Honey Guide tricks the badger. The illustrations are beautiful and nice. We like the pictures of the African animals. We also like the clues that Jan Brett gave us on the sides.

Kindergarten Class

New Hampshire Estates, Silver Spring, MD
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By lynn yaple on December 8, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Honey...Honey...Lion is this year's perfect book for young animal and nature lovers. Although the animals' interactions are not, of course, accurate, the background habitat is immediately recognizable to those who love this part of Africa. Needless to say, the illustrations are beautifully drawn by the amazing Ms. Brett. The book slowly presents the story, the surroundings, and pictures of the animals involved, then reinforces this new knowledge in reverse order. The names of each animal are then given on a last summary page. The manner of presentation will make the information highly accessible to children of this age, and the story line will appeal to their strong interest in fairness.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By D. Blankenship HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on November 10, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Not only do I enjoy the story this book offers, I do feel it is one of the best illustrated works out today. The accuracy of the drawings, the details and the general flow are a wonder to the eye. Each time you read this one, you spot something new. Of course the moral of the tale is great as most fold stories are and the author well makes his point. This is one of those books that is a lot of fun to read to your child or to a group of children, discussing the situatuion and discussing the illustrations. As to the fact that the honey badger may not have acted as true to his or her form in the wild, for goodness sakes folks, these creatures, badgers, birds and all don't talk either! This is a story, a delightful story, take it as such. Overall, recommend this one highly.
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By L. Simone on August 21, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Although we are Jan Brett fans, we felt this book fell short in terms of storyline. My son became a huge honey badger fan when he learned that they are the only beasts to stand their ground against a lion. You can imagine his disappointment, then, when reading that the honey badger not only did NOT try to fight, but rather got scared and hid in a hole. He never wants me to read this story again! Ha. We did have fun identifying the other animals in the illustrations, though. Just a disappointment from my son's perspective.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is amazing. Well, maybe not amazing, but really, really great.

Jan Brett's artwork is fabulous. Full of detail. My kids spend hours looking through her books.

But this story is so fun and has such a great 'surprise' to it. My kids act it out for hours. Even the baby gets into it yelling "honey, honey, honey" as he runs up and down the hall.

Not only do we love to read this book, but we learned about various animals and it sparked a desire to learn more.

*taken from my review at goodreads
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The artwork is great, as per usual for Jan Brett. I raise guineas so this was what attracted me to this book, besides having almost all of her other books. The story is simple enough and she obviously got her information correct from the source. It is nice to see how she did research the information presented in the book. I would recommend this to anyone with younger children and those who appreciate art, especially that drawing animal life other than dogs and cats. Very accurate and full of detail.
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By tbird77 on January 9, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Yet another delightful and beautiful Jan Brett book. Every classroom that I have shared this book with loves it(PK THRU Second). Very easy to move to a disscussion about sharing and doing the right thing. Not to mention how fasinated with the illustrations each child is. If you like Jan Brett's style, this is another must have for your collection.
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