The Lion Inside by Rachel Bright (words) and Jim Field (illustrations), published by Orchard Books
It's a very helpful life skill to be able to find your inner roar and act like a brave lion, whether it's your first time in the big class at nursery school - or indeed if it's your first time dropping off your three year old daughter for her first day in the big class.
It's a pitch-perfect tale of a teeny, meek mouse that goes in search of its inner roar. Fed up with being unnoticed and living alone in a house under a rock, mouse sets out to learn how to roar like the loudest lion in the Savannah, the King of the jungle, the envy of all the animals.
We accompany mouse's quest, its large ears drooping by its side, clutching its tail for comfort. Mouse's journey is set against sweeping landscapes and pages filled with eye catching details - from the pot plant on the window sill of its ‘tinyful’ house to the 'How to Roar' book by A A Mouse.
Jim Field's beautiful illustrations are perfectly matched to Rebecca Bright's fun, lyrical narrative. There are enjoyable moments of genuine suspense as mouse climbs to the top of the rock where lion lays sleeping, and asks with a squeak for help, expecting to become the lion's lunch. They come nose to nose, and a tremendous double page spread reveals the scale of lion's enormous face and mane towering over mouse.
But lion's quiff and expressive eyebrows suddenly become limp and instead of a roar he lets out a huge "EEEEEEK!"; for lion, we learn, is afraid of mice. Realising they each have something to offer the other, they overcome their fears through friendship:
"Yes, that day
they BOTH learned
that, no matter your size,
we all have a mouse
AND a lion inside."