"How to Hide a Lion at Christmas"

Iris has a pet — a lovable lion, gentle as a tabby cat. As Christmas approaches, lion helps with holiday preparations, so Iris is incredulous when mother says she can’t take lion to her aunt’s for Christmas because it will alarm the townspeople. That conundrum kicks off “How to Hide a Lion at Christmas,” by Helen Stephens.

Try as she might Iris can’t convince her mom that her cherished pet should go on the train trip, and lion can’t stand to see Iris unhappy. The family is barely out the door when lion walks to the train station, climbs aboard and hides in the baggage compartment, unnoticed.

Lion takes a catnap and sleeps through the stop where the family disembarks, Irish still fiercely worried about her buddy back home, little knowing her pet is headed for destinations unknown.

When lion wakes, he’s confused and pads through the snow, finally spotting a village in the distance, the scenario Iris’ mom predicted playing out when the king of the jungle drops in on a choir “Fa-la-laaing.”

The hilarity culminates with lion trying to follow in Santa’s footsteps a scheme that ends with a “WHUMPF,” topped off by a warm reunion in this delightful holiday read.

Ages 4-8.