The Day the Lion Came to Call
Susan Beardon Art
You are Invited!
Children (and adults), you are invited to share your illustrations for my picture book, The Day the Lion Came to Call.
The story was inspired by all the unusual wild animals seen in towns and cities around the world during the pandemic of 2020, when people stayed at home and sheltered in place.
I will post your pictures here until there are enough to create a video on Youtube featuring your art. Feel free to add a caption with what it is you wish to see.
To submit your art, click HERE!
Here is a video of me reading the story followed by the text and more illustrations.
The Day the Lion Came to Call
Once, in a very strange time, people were told they must stay at home. Otherwise they might get sick.
Sheltered in place, they found all sorts of things to do. Anna made cookies with Dad, and Sean dug a garden with Mom. Stevie read stories and Sam, who liked quiet, stared out the window.
Outside, hardly a plane or car passed by. The birds noticed first, chirping and singing. “Why are the humans so still?” they asked, flitting around.
“We don’t know,” cheeped the wrens. “Usually they are quite the noisiest bunch!”
Picture by Sharon Langfield
“I don’t care,” said a hawk, swooping down low, “I’m enjoying this crystal clean air." Birds flew everywhere, sharing the news. “Have you heard? The humans are not coming out of their nests.” Lions came down from the mountains. Bears romped in parks, deer strolled through gardens, and wild horses walked down city streets.
Animals visited trees they had not seen in a very long time. One old Oak said in her slow, creaking speech, “It’s time we had a Wild Caucus.”
“What’s a caucus?” asked a baby bunny.
“It’s when we all meet,” answered her Mama.
“It’s been quite a while because those humans are always about, and they sure like to shout.”
“But why do we meet?” asked the baby bunny.
The Oak waved her branches. “We meet when we have something important to discuss. And these days we certainly do.” She shook her crown. “We need to find a way to make this world a place we can all live healthy, happy lives.”
“Like this!” buzzed a bee, sipping nectar from a sunflower. “No leaf blowers disturbing my peace.”
“Yes, we all like the quiet,” the animals agreed, “and having some space to wander.”
“But will the humans stay inside?” asked the lion.
“Let’s ask the dogs,” suggested a wolf. “They’re sure to know.”
The lion sniffed and replied, “Let’s ask the cats,” and she padded off to town to do just that.
Art by Elyse Pomeranz in communion with the ancient Anckenwycke Yew tree in England. The Magna Carta, an agreement between humans on how to live together, was signed under this tree in 1215 AD.
But the lion was having trouble contacting a cat. For some reason, they all seemed to run. She lapped water from a dog bowl and then peeked in a window. Sam stared back. “Stevie,” he said, “there’s a big cat.”
Stevie looked up from her book. “I think it’s a lion.” Stevie was already six and knew quite a bit. She opened the window a crack. “Can I help you?” she asked politely.
The lion stretched her sleek body. “Well,” she said, “we plants and animals wondered if you humans would agree to stay inside from here on out.”
Stevie shook her head. “I don’t think so. My Mom says we’re going to be able to go places again very soon.”
The lion flicked her tail and twitched a whisker. “Not good,” she murmured. “We are having a Wild Caucus and we want to create a world where we can all live healthy, happy lives. You humans are so busy running here and there. We animals, plants, birds and fish have less and less room for our homes, and are no longer able to roam. You disturb the dandelions, mowing them down, and the butterflies say they can’t hear themselves think.”
“Me too,” mumbled Sam, covering his ears.
The lion gave him a look, and Stevie explained, “Sam doesn’t like noise.” The lion perked up her ears. “Humans like quiet?” Stevie nodded. “Some of us do.”
“I suppose we could have another Wild Caucus," the lion said thoughtfully, "when humans can come, and figure it out together.”
“Figure what out?” asked Stevie, who wasn’t sure what a caucus was. The lion arched her back in a big stretch. “The world we all want to create,” she said, turning and sauntering off with a satisfied air.
A week later, the animals, plants, birds and fish put out the call. You humans are invited to the Wild Caucus on the cliffs by the sea. Bring your ideas of the world you wish to see.
Many people heard that call. It came through the air, in rivers and streams, in the scent of wild roses, and the mystery of dreams. Anna, Sean, Stevie and Sam looked out their windows and saw dancing lights and shimmering stars. They followed the path to the cliffs by the sea and joined the Wild Caucus with dolphins and trees.
The Oak rustled her leaves.
"What is this world we all wish to see?"
A salmon leaped up. "I'd like more fresh water."
"More healthy soil," said an earthworm.
"Room for our homes," squeaked a prairie dog.
"Lots of trees," added a squirrel, "with nuts!"
And then they all clamored at once.
"Wild places to burrow." "Mushrooms for me."
"Flowers and fruit."
"Coral reefs and clean seas."
"Quiet and peace."
"Sounds good to me," said Sam.
"More of us," buzzed the bees.
"Art, music and stories," Stevie added softly.
Susan Beardon Art
Oak's branches swayed in the breeze. "And so it begins," she said, "with a New Story, a tale of humans Listening and joining the Wild Caucus with animals, plants, birds and fish to create the world we all want to be."