“Lions and tigers and bears, oh, my!” is extremely familiar as a quote from Judy Garland in “The Wizard of Oz.”  Here at the Hamburg Public Library, we have both a DVD version and “The Annotated Wizard of Oz:  the Wonderful Wizard of Oz” by L. Frank Baum.
The reading doesn’t have to stop there; in fact, we have children’s books featuring lions, tigers, and bears as well.  
 It seems appropriate to begin with the tale of a lion who actually resides in a library.  “Library Lion” is a 2.8 level AR book by Michelle Knudsen relating the story of a lion who earns a very special place in a very big library.  “A Lion Called Christian” (Bourke) is the remarkable story of the real life relationship of two humans and one lion cub.  “Christian the Lion” (Knowles, 3.6) is easy reading fiction based upon the heartwarming story of two friends who purchased a lion cub at Harrods of London at Christmas time and raised him to be free in Africa.  
Other stories combine the King of the Jungle  with meeker animals.  “Lion and Lamb” (2.0) and “Ups and Downs with Lion and Lamb” (2.2) are by Barbara Brenner.  Fun drawings help relay the adventures which result from the unlikely friendship.  “The Lion and the Hare” (Krensky, 3.1) is an East African folktale.  In “Pig Pig Meets the Lion,” David McPhail incorporates his own illustrations and an abundance of prepositions to relate what happens when a lion escapes from a zoo and climbs in Pig Pig’s window.   Lastly, “The Lion and the Mouse” (Pinkney) is a wordless retelling of the familiar Aesop fable set in the African Serengeti.
Tigers, too, inhabit the bookshelves at the library.  “It’s a Tiger!” (LaRochelle, 1.4) is a fun read aloud book that has children searching for the tiger in unusual places.  A book by Dr. Suess, “Ten Apples on Top,”  uses a tiger, a lion and a dog to give counting an entertaining twist.
Speaking of bears, one could begin with “Old Bear” (Henkes) and “Baby Bear, Baby Bear, What Do You See?” (Martin).  Both are Level 2.1 AR books.  Another bear story is “Little Bear’s Special Wish” (Lobel).  It’s a sweet story in which Hoppity Bunny and Green Frog try to help Little Bear catch a star for his mother’s birthday present.  “The Abandoned Lighthouse” (Lamb, 3.8) brings the daydream of a boy, a bear, and a dog to life.  
Two additional easy readers are “Found” (Yoon) and “I Promise” (McPhail, 2.6).  
If we extend our range to Panda bears, young readers will find “Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What Do You See?” (Martin), a poetry book—“Hi, Koo!” (Muth), and from Magic Tree House books “A Perfect Time for Pandas” (Osborne, 3.8).  Osborne’s nonfiction companion, “Pandas and Other Endangered Species” (5.6) will provide facts such as a newborn panda is as light as a stick of butter.
Polar bears, too, catch the attention of authors in stories like “Dear Polar Bear . . .” (Ablett), “The Three Snow Bears” (Brett), and “The Lonesome Polar Bear” (Cabrera).  In “Polar Bear Night” (Thompson, 2.1) a little bear wanders out in the night to watch a magical star shower.
 For facts about polar bears, pick up the junior nonfiction book “Polar Bears and the Arctic” (Osborne, 4.6)
Oh, my, there are many fun books to enjoy at the library about lions, tigers, and bears.