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'Little Lion' raises the pitch
published: Sunday | April 22, 2007

Children's book author, Kellie Magnus, and illustrator, Michael Robinson, are engrossed in her new book 'Little Lion at Bat' at the official launch, held at Caribbean Business Club, Barbados Avenue, on Tuesday, April 3. - Winston Sill/Freelance Photographer

"Play it with your heart, not just your mind, listen to the voice inside, play with grace, play with control."

Title: Little Lion at Bat

Author: Kellie Magnus

Art: Michael Robinson

Publisher: Media Magic

Reviewed by: Amitabh Sharma

Zachariah Zion is back and this time he is bracing himself to salvage the pride of his school cricket team. Author Kellie Magnus carves escapades of Zion, a young Rastafarian boy, in her second book, which catches the beat of the season, cricket. The book is beset in Caribbean flavour and highlights Caribbean themes.

Little Lion at Bat opens a new day in Zion's life; he is out to prove himself at the cricket match and make a mark for himself. The story narrates how this young man wants to earn a place in pride and also make his team win against the formidable challenger.

When we got introduced to the Little Lion as Zachariah Zion is fondly referred to, was adjusting to his new school. In Little Lion Goes to School Zachariah was adjusting in his new school where he was teased for being different and poor.

Little Lion overcomes the hurdles with the help of his father, Mr. Zion, who teaches him to value what he is and not how he looks.

Little Lion at Bat takes a cue from Zachariah's introduction to the school and the stark realities that he had to face. As an excited little Zion looking forward to the cricket match between his school Holy Mother, the 'minnows' and the favourites Pear Tree, he knows that he has to come through in this battle between the David and the Goliath.

Inspirational messages

This short narrative is intertwined with inspirational messages, vivid imagination and supported by bright illustrations. Artist Michael Robinson catches the emotions thrown by the characters by bold images that bring out the local flavour and complement the text.

His father, inspiring Zion, as he has done all along, he recounts the spirit of the game ... "play it with your heart, not just your mind, listen to the voice inside, play with grace, play with control," he says.

The story unfolds at the playground, where a huge crowd is eagerly waiting for the match to begin. Coach Clafert Clump is in distress having seeng the bigger, better, a fitter and faster opponent. But like all good coaches, he is bucking up the team and asking them not to fear.

Little Lion is left on the stands as Coach Clump thinks he is too small for play "In your dreams," coach howls, " you're too small for the cricket team."

As the luck begins to go against Holy Mother from the word go, Little Lion watches his team being hammered by Pear Tree. Set to chase an imposing total, the star batsmen fall like ninepins, Mr. Zion pleads to the coach to let Little Lion play, which falls upon deaf ears yet.

When the ninth wicket falls, the coach gives in and Little Lion goes to bat. As he walks, the opponent jeer him, but he knows this is his moment of glory ... but will his determination and convictions be enough to live up to the expectations as he walks this thin line? The climax catches the reggae and calypso from the field.

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