A Chip Off the Old Block: Just Like My Papa by Tony Buzzeo
ROAAAAAR! A WARNING ECHOES ACROSS THE PLAIN.
PAPA ROARS AGAIN. "MY PRIDE IS HERE. STAY AWAY.
I AM THE PROTECTOR AND KING!"
GROOOOOWL! KITO ADDS A WARNING.
"I AM HERE TOO. JUST LIKE MY PAPA."
Among his pride on the savanna, Kito's father is king, and little Kito is crown prince, trying to learn to be a king like his papa.
Just like Papa, he swishes his little black-tuffed tail to scare away the flies as masterfully as he can, but when a hyena steals closer through the tall grasses, he sinks low and lets Papa take care of business!
When the savanna sun grows hot, Papa sleeps under an acacia, and so does Kito. But kids just want to have fun, and soon he wakes up, ready for action. He pounces onto Papa's rump. Wheeeee!
WITH A SWIPE OF HIS PAW, PAPA SENDS KITO FLYING.
"ENOUGH, LITTLE KITO. I AM BUSY!"
Kito lies in the grass, pretending to be busy, just like Papa, until the suns sinks lower and it is time for the hunt.
PAPA STANDS UP AND GIVES HIS MANE A FEARSOME SHAKE.
Kito has no mane, but he shakes his head like Papa and follows, partly hidden in the grass as the lionesses of the pride lead them toward the herd of wildebeests to give chase. But the wildebeests are too fast for the huntresses this time, and the lions stop to catch their breath at the edge of their territory. But Papa stands tall and roars out a warning to all that he is king and protector of the pride. Kito growls to show that he is there, too.
Back under their acacia tree, Kito is ready to take his position of honor on Papa's rump.
PAPA SETTLES DOWN.
"COME HERE, MY BRAVE LITTLE HUNTER.
HELP ME BE KING!"
Just Like My Papa (Hyperion, 2015) is a tender, if idealized, picture of life on the African savanna which is reminiscent of Disney's The Lion King, (not too surprising, since Hyperion is the juvenile printing partner of Disney, Inc.) Nevertheless, author Buzzeo presents a reasonably accurate description of life in a lion pride for a young male and appends an informative author's note ("Information about the Pride") which offers fuller representation of family roles in the group. Artist Mike Wonotka portrays the somewhat anthropomorphised relationship between father and son with gentle humor and affection and plenty of charm.
Pair this one with Buzzeo's and Wahnotka's fine companion book about a mother giraffe and her baby, Stay Close to Mama (read review here).