Arnold the pink lion lives an idyllic life with his flamingo family until a gang of “proper lions” persuades him that he should be out roaring and hunting with them, not swimming and bathing with birds. But the roaring and hunting doesn’t come naturally, and Arnold misses his family.
When he gets back to the water hole, he finds that a very nasty crocodile has moved in, and his family has been left high and dry. Suddenly, some of what those other lions taught him does come naturally, and saves the day.
Pink Lion is a bold, colorful, sometimes funny, sometimes silly, heartwarming story about being yourself – no matter what you happen to be.
PSLA Teaching and Learning: Literature Review
A nice book about adoption, acceptance, and families.
The Horn Book Magazine
Arnold is the lone lion in a family of flamingoes. It’s obvious—to everyone but Arnold—that aside from being pink, he doesn’t look like a flamingo. When a bunch of lions declares that he’s “supposed to be part of OUR family,” Arnold decides to “give it a try.” He tags along with the pride for a while, but things don’t feel quite right. He can’t run fast, he’s not a fan of using his tongue to bathe (he misses his soap and sponge), and when he tries to roar? “Squork.” The result: “I think I’ll go back to my family now.” Porter’s uncomplicated story alludes to questions about identity and belonging without putting any undue weight on the topics; pair with Christian Robinson’s Gaston (rev. 5/14) for a similar theme of not-looking-like-your-family-but-who-actually-cares? The uncluttered, loosely rendered illustrations feature cheery, brightly colored animals on lots of white space; like the text, the art allows young listeners to impose as much meaning on the situation as they want. Arnold returns home to find “a very nasty crocodile” threatening the flamingoes. Reaching deep down, he lets his inner lion out (“RROOOOOOOAR!”), which scares off the croc and saves the flock. This upbeat, empowering story begins: “Arnold’s life was just right. His family loved him.” It ends the same way, but with more family to love. And that seems just right.
NC Teacher Stuff
First of all, one of the most adorable book covers you will ever see. Bar none. It's just as engaging on the inside as well. This is also a story that would be a great read aloud for a lesson on being yourself. That is SO important in the K-2 world. There is a large amount of dialogue in Pink Lion, so it's perfect to convert into a Reader's Theater script for working on fluency. Another use would be to compare Arnold and his lion cousins using a Venn diagram. No lion, this book will charm your socks off.
School Library Journal
Arnold, a pink lion, has an amazing life down by the water hole with a family of flamingos. One day, a pride of lions approach and tell Arnold that he actually belongs with them because he looks more similar to lions than to flamingos. Arnold admits that he does look a bit more like a lion and feels a tad confused. He decides to spend time with the lions, hunting, licking himself to wash, and roaring. After a busy day, Arnold isn’t sure he is very good at being a lion and returns to the water hole, only to find that a crocodile has taken over. Arnold uses what he has learned about being a lion to protect those he loves and gains a group of new family members in the process. This bold and bright picture book will promote discussions about identity and what makes a family. The illustrations are painted in intense shades of mostly pink, yellow, and green on crisp white pages. The font is large and easy to read. Young listeners will enjoy helping Arnold find his voice by roaring right along with him. VERDICT A terrific read-aloud, this is a story of courage, questioning, and belonging. Great for starting conversations with young children.
A story about a lion raised by flamingos and nature versus nurture.
Arnold the lion is just as pink as his flamingo family members are, though the text doesn’t explain why this is so nor how he joined their family. All that matters is that he feels a sense of belonging with them. But then a pride of yellow lions appears and asks, “What’s he doing here? He’s supposed to be part of OUR family.” Arnold is “puzzled” but acknowledges that, apart from his coloring, he does look more like the lions than the flamingos, and so he leaves to learn to live among them. Despite his attempts, he never quite fits in, so he returns to the water hole to rejoin his flamingo family only to discover that a crocodile has muscled its way in and is demanding that they leave. This makes Arnold angry, and for the first time ever he lets out a big “RROOOOOOOAR!” The other lions hear him and run to his side. Together, they scare the crocodile away. They then form a peaceable kingdom of sorts with birds and lions (referred to as Arnold’s “new cousins”) splashing in the water hole together. Throughout, the illustrations’ boldly colored, limited palette and loose style add exuberance and fun to the telling of the story about identity and belonging.
It does indeed seem that it’s love that makes a family.