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A Hungry Lion, or A Dwindling Assortment of Animals

Illustrated by Lucy Ruth Cummins

“So smart and so cute and so dark all at the same time. Sheesh.” —Caldecott medal and honor winner, Jon Klassen.

Once upon a time there was a hungry lion and a bunch of adorable animals…what do you think happened next?


There once was a hungry lion, a penguin (Well he was just here…), a little calico kitten (I could have sworn I just saw him…), a brown mouse (Now wait a second…), a bunny with floppy ears and a bunny with un-floppy ears (Okay this is just getting ridiculous), a frog, a bat, a pig, a slightly bigger pig, a wooly sheep, a koala, a hen, and also a turtle. Hey! What’s going on here…

The very hungry lion is all set to enjoy an exciting day with his other animal pals. But all of a sudden his friends start disappearing at an alarming rate! Is someone stealing the hungry lion’s friends, or is the culprit a little…closer to home?

With sharp wit, adorable illustrations, and hysterical twists galore, this debut picture book asks—what do you think happened to the hungry lion’s friends?

Photograph by Jonathan Dorfman

Lucy Ruth Cummins is an author, an illustrator, and art director of children’s books. She has been happily paired with Jean Reidy for Truman, which was named a New York Times Best Children’s Book of 2019, and Sylvie. She also is the author-illustrator of A Hungry Lion, or A Dwindling Assortment of AnimalsStumpkin; and Vampenguin. When she was little, she had a pet spider in the shed where her dad kept the lawnmower. Every day little Lucy caught flies and placed them in her spider’s web at mealtimes. Lucy was born in Montreal, raised in upstate New York, and lives with her little family in Brooklyn, New York.

Photograph by Jonathan Dorfman

Lucy Ruth Cummins is an author, an illustrator, and art director of children’s books. She has been happily paired with Jean Reidy for Truman, which was named a New York Times Best Children’s Book of 2019, and Sylvie. She also is the author-illustrator of A Hungry Lion, or A Dwindling Assortment of AnimalsStumpkin; and Vampenguin. When she was little, she had a pet spider in the shed where her dad kept the lawnmower. Every day little Lucy caught flies and placed them in her spider’s web at mealtimes. Lucy was born in Montreal, raised in upstate New York, and lives with her little family in Brooklyn, New York.

*"Gets even better with multiple readings...a good dose of subversively hearty laughter"

– Kirkus Reviews - Starred Review, December 15, 2015

*"Cummins’s dizzy meta-tale has just enough wink and cheek to assure readers that it’s all in good fun, and her visual style—sketchbook playful, slyly spiking sweet-seeming scenes with moments of menace and fear—should leave them hungering (in a nice way) for her next book."

– Publisher's Weekly - Starred Review, December 14, 2015

"Hilariously dark...When this devilish book ends, there will, indeed, be only one animal left standing."

– Booklist, February 2016

"With several surprises, and some truly extraordinary full-page illustrations, this story winds itself to a laugh-out-loud ending that will tickle the unconventional funny bone. ...Highly recommended for any library, sure to be a favorite read-aloud."

– School Library Journal, March 2016

"understated, sly delight... similar to Klassen’s books, but has a daffy and dry style all its own."

– The Boston Globe, March 19, 2016

  • ALA Notable Children's Books
  • CCBC Choices (Cooperative Children's Book Council)
  • Irma S. Black Award Honor Book (Bank Street)
  • Cybils Award
  • Wisconsin State Reading Association's Reading List
  • Governor General's Literary Award for Children's Literature - Illustrated Text Finalist
  • Prairie Bloom Book Award Nominee

More books from this author: Lucy Ruth Cummins