Mila and the missing lions by Celeste Hulme

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Five Mile Press, 2016 ISBN 9781760066826
(Age: 5+) Lions. Animals. Circuses. Lion taming. A curiously old fashioned conceit of a child wanting to grow up to be lion tamer like her parents will reveal a work environment no longer seen by children. She takes the necessary equipment from her parents' storage chest and makes a mane for her dog, Ralph. But Ralph simply wants to sleep. He is not interested in being Mila's lion so that she can practise. So Mila goes to the cage where her parents keep their lions and inadvertently lets them escape. So begins a game of cat and mouse as Mila asks the other circus people if they have seen anything unusual. She does not want anyone to know what she has done. She walks around the circus until she finally gets to the tent of the bearded lady, an act that the lions seem to like. And sure enough there they are sitting down to afternoon tea with her. Mila works out how to get the lions back in their cage and all is well.
A delightful tale of righting a mistake the child has made, and working something out for herself, while showing a younger generation what an old fashioned circus is like. The illustrations move the story along, adding another level of humour to the story.
I love the double page of framed portraits of Mila's family, and the things being juggled by the juggler, while readers will love following the tail they see escaping onto the next page. And the last page of the text adds another level of humour and anticipation as Mila works out what she wants to do next.
Fran Knight