Tawny Scrawny Lion
Author~ Kathryn Jackson
Illustrator ~ Gustaf Tenggren
New York: Western Publishing Company, Inc.
First Published: 1952
Little Golden Books were among the few I remember having around the house as a small child. Tossed in the toybox with wooden blocks, Pebbles and Bam Bam dolls, Slinkys and pull toys you could find The Poky Little Puppy, The Little Red Hen, The Happy Whale, The Shy Little Kitten and The Little Red Caboose. What you wouldn't have found was The Tawny Scrawny Lion. Tawny Scrawny was mine! You see, I was the oldest of four little girls and in order to protect my book from the ravages of crayons and the carelessness of mud-pie hands, I kept Tawny Scrawny at my Grandmother's house. Mixed in with this great story that teaches children the days of the week and the virtues of vegetables are all the wonderful smells, sounds and memories (not to mention the individual attention!) that I treasure from my childhood.
Tawny Scrawny chases (and eats) the jungle animals but remains skinny with so much running around. Sitting with some distance between them to talk things over with the lion, the nervous animals think their problems are solved when a fat little rabbit comes hopping on the scene. Enticing the lion with the thoughts of his five fat sisters and four fat brothers more so than the carrot stew bubbling back at his house, the rabbit is spared by the lion. Picking berries and catching a few fish along the way, the two finally make it to the rabbit's house and there it is: a big pot of delicious smelling carrot stew! All those fine rabbits move fast to fill the lion with bowl after bowl of stew then top him up with berries. Alas, Tawny Scrawny is now "fat as butter and sleek as satin". Hooray! The little rabbit saved the day and left the lion with an affinity for carrot stew.
Is it any wonder my love of reading (and stew) began with this book!