Little children often love to have stuffed animals, and there are many stories and movies out there that examine the possibility that stuffed animals can talk to each other, or that they come alive when everyone sleeps. There are a few childrens books which also talk about this possibility, and of those books, Ellen’s Lion is one that is often overlooked. The truth, however, is that this book, created by Crockett Johnson, is a book that should be included in any library.
Ellen’s Lion is all about a little girl named Ellen and her stuffed lion. She and her lion have conversations with each other, and Crockett Johnson has recorded those conversations in twelve little stories. Each story talks about different things, and the story slips in and out of the child’s imagination. For instance, in one part, Ellen says that she’s sad for her poor old lion. The lion, however, says that he’s “never sad and never happy, never hungry and never full, never foolish or clever, or good or bad, or this or that, or anything else you imagine me to be.”
While Ellen’s Lion seems, at first, as though it wouldn’t weave together very well, the small vignettes actually do, telling the tale of her tough-minded lion and the things that a little girl can think, including getting a new toy that may replace the lion, and what it’s like to be afraid of the dark, making this book one that every child will understand and enjoy.