Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Little Stone Lion

They say don't judge a book by its cover but that's the exact reason I picked up this book. I sadly have never heard anything about this book and don't know anything about the author Kim Xiong. The cover seemed sad and beautiful so I picked it up. That's why I love the library. I can randomly try any book that seems interesting. 

This book has the simplest story I've ever read. It is a small stone lion, a guardian for a village, who is telling the reader about his role. He's a tiny little statute, not much bigger than a house cat but he has a vital role in the village. He is a talisman for the people. The children see him and feel safe, the elderly can look at him as a reminder of youth. The simple words and beautiful illustrations remind me that objects often mean more than the material they are made of. This little lion is the backbone for the village. 

When I finished the book I was surprised by how peaceful I felt. This was similar to the feeling I got after reading Zen Shorts. Perhaps this too is a Zen story. The book uses simple lines to create something of a poem. The first two lines and the last two lines are the same, creating a circular story. Although this book was written for children I think it might have more of an impact on adults. It reminded me of the power of faith. The villagers have faith in the lion and he derives his power from them. The illustrations are muted colors with a distinctly Asian feel. I would have to guess mostly brush and ink. The pictures are sparse and all center around the little lion. It is his voice that narrates. This is a peaceful and beautiful book that I will have to purchase. 

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