Dutton Children's Books, 1991


A PBS Storytime selection

ABA/CBC Best Book



The Lion and the Little Red Bird

“ Every day the lion’s tail changes color, and the little red bird determines to find out why. This is a celebration of 
friendship and creativity cloaked in a simple mystery. Collage paintings explode with color, texture and detail”
 -- Sesame Street Magazine


"A sweet and captivating book with gorgeous illustrations. Its story line and artwork both have unusual 
and unexpected qualities that work together to generate a magical, light mood...A unique and worthwhile contribution to any collection."

-- starred, School Library Journal


“This joyous tale about the wordless discoveries of friendship is illustrated with mixed-media collages so 
richly colored and tetured that readers will want to feel the pages...Enchanting.”
 -- starred, Kirkus.


 For a lesson plan and discussion of the book, please click on this link: /www.teachingchildrenphilosophy.org/wiki/The_Lion_and_the_Little_Red_Bird

Art and music are universal languages, languages without words, that all people share.  In THE LION AND THE LITTLE RED BIRD the sight of the Lion’s colorful tail and cave paintings make the bird happy. The sound of the bird’s music makes the lion happy. What sights make you happy -- or sad? What sounds? 


The pictures in this story are made with many materials. I painted the lion with golden-brown watercolor, and glued down bits of fuzzy yarn to make his mane. I painted the bird’s body red, and created her feathers by cutting out pieces of of marbelized paper. ( The patterns on marbelized paper remind me of birds’ wings.) As you probably know, pictures made from different materials reassembled to form something new are called collages. Try making your own collages. Collect materials which appeal to you: feathers, beads, bits of cloth, pages torn from magazines or catalogs, old holiday cards, etc. Combine them to form your own collage picture. Have fun: there are no rules in collage!

LION in French!

LION in Korean and Chinese.

Bonjour Monsieur le Lion



Two artists' quilts based on LION AND LITTLE RED BIRD.  Halli Kenoyer created the piece on the left and Kathie Johnston crafted the one on the right.

A lovely lion doll sits with other friends from my books. He is handmade  by soft sculptor and artist Kate Barsotti.

And here is an Indian version of the lion and the bird.

It was a delight and an honor to see THE LION AND THE LITTLE RED BIRD adapted for the stage by playwright Nicole Blaire Adkins, directed by Mark Sutton, and performed by the Children's Theatre of Charlotte in October, 2014. Tim Parati painted the scenery, translating Sandra Gray's beautiful scenic designs onto the stage, and artist Peter Smeal created the props.   Enjoy this album of images from the show.  Photos by Donna Bise and Meredith Barringer Sutton 



I had a Japanese version, too, but one day when I passed it around to a bookstore audience, it vanished.  Luckily, the next week, some nice children made me the ....

THE LION AND THE LITTLE RED BIRD premiered as a ballet with the Charleston Dance Institute in 2017.  Under the direction of Jodie Davis Caplea and Jonathan Tabbert, my story took graceful flight! To view and hear segments of the performance, please click here and here