Read The World's Greatest Lion by Ralph Helfer Ted Lewin Online


From the creators of The World's Greatest Elephant comes the real-life story of the MGM Studios Lion.Perhaps the most recognizable Hollywood animal--outside of Lassie--is "Leo the Lion," MGM Studios' famous mascot. For decades his image introduced hundreds of motion pictures, and Zamba the lion acted in dozens more. But he wasn't always a Hollywood star, and he certainly pFrom the creators of The World's Greatest Elephant comes the real-life story of the MGM Studios Lion.Perhaps the most recognizable Hollywood animal--outside of Lassie--is "Leo the Lion," MGM Studios' famous mascot. For decades his image introduced hundreds of motion pictures, and Zamba the lion acted in dozens more. But he wasn't always a Hollywood star, and he certainly proved to be much more.This real-life story of Zamba, told by world-renowned animal behaviorist Ralph Helfer and Caldecott Honor recipient Ted Lewin, follows the famous lion from an orphaned cub in Africa to iconic Hollywood actor. But Zamba's greatest role wasn't scripted and it certainly wasn't captured on film. In 1969, the canyon that housed Ralph Helfer's animal ranch was ravaged by floods. As death claimed many of the animals, dozens were led to safety by one heroic lion.Zamba's story, beautifully told and illustrated, is one that will entertain and inspire--both cubs and lions....

Title : The World's Greatest Lion
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780399254178
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 40 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The World's Greatest Lion Reviews

  • Donalyn
    2019-02-06 05:28

    The fictionalized "biography" of Zamba, the famous MGM lion. This would make an amazing read aloud, but I really wanted an author's note explaining more.

  • babyhippoface
    2019-02-17 04:23

    What a great story. Lion cub is rescued, raised with humans to be gentle, becomes a movie star. Very cool.Beautiful illustrations by Ted Lewin paint Helfer's story of Zamba, a lion who was rescued as a cub and eventually brought to a wildlife refuge in the United States. Two exceptional events in Zamba's life make this picture book great: 1] following a dangerous storm that left many of the animals in the refuge dead, Zamba led the surviving animals back to safety at the refuge; 2] Zamba became a movie star. Yep, he's the furry-maned cat in the middle of the MGM logo. Again: so very cool.I shared Knudsen's terrific picture book Library Lion with second grade, then asked them if they thought a lion could ever become tame enough to interact with people the way the lion in that story does. Choruses of "NO!!"floated through the air, and then I said with a smile, "Oh yeah? Meet Zamba." After I finished reading the book, I held up a screen shot of Zamba as Leo the MGM lion in the middle of the logo, and asked the kids if they had ever seen a movie that started or ended with that picture. Nearly every child had a hand in the air. When I told them that Zamba was the lion on screen, their eyes got big and smiles broke out. And so one more time I just have to say it: so very, very cool.

  • Lu Benke
    2019-02-16 23:21

    Can't help but feel like I've just been given the Disney version of reality. And the fact that there are no sources listed other than the author's credentials on the dust jacket aren't enough for me to accept the authenticity of this account. This story of an orphaned lion adopted and raised in Africa then brought to America to become a well-loved movie star has the action children would love and the beautiful paintings that I think are supposed to give you the sense that it all happened just like the story is written. Sorry. I'm not buying it. Maybe The One and Only Ivan sensitized me to the incongruity of humans trying to decide what animals are thinking and why they do what they do. If I were to share this with kids, I'd want to have them question whether there were other things going on behind the story that weren't so movie picture perfect.

  • Jim Erekson
    2019-02-06 06:27

    The watercolor paintings were really remarkable. The transparent tan colors used as the background for each page (see the end-page notes) were perfect for putting me in that 'tawny' veldt that matches the lion's fur, and also happens to be a main color of the hills in California where he landed later in the book. This was an interesting biography because it's a famous figure you might wonder about after seeing many MGM movies, and there are some very nice story elements about being displaced, finding a new home, experiencing loss and danger, but also surprising understanding where you wonder if there is any. Also part of the 'small slice' tradition of biography--this is based on small episodes from a much larger memoir-style book.

  • Laura
    2019-02-08 07:24

    This is a fictionalized account of Zamba the lion. After his parents are killed by a Scar-like lion enemy, Zamba finds his way to a kind and caring woman. Eventually, he is sent to live in California and is trained to work in movies. He becomes most famous as Leo the Lion, the MGM roaring lion. The story is a bit long for lower elementary students and the author includes neither a note to explain the true story nor additional information. While the story is interesting and the artwork attractive, I'm a bit disappointed in the lack of truth in the story.

  • Tasha
    2019-01-30 02:40

    This is the story of Zamba the lion, one of the most well-known animal actors in film history. Zamba appeared as the MGM Lion as well as in many commercials and shows. Here, the focus is on how Zamba lost his parents and his survival as an orphan cub in Africa before being found by a woman and rescued. Zamba was allowed to roam free and grew larger and larger until she could no longer safely care for him. Happily, she had heard about Africa USA, an organization looking for a lion. Africa USA offered a safe haven and trained animals to not be aggressive. Zamba arrived at the ranch owned by Ralph Helfer and slowly grew gentler. The family’s children used him as a warm place when watching TV and his best friend was one of the dogs on the ranch. Thanks to his rare gentle nature, Zamba worked in television and film. Then one day, a flood hit the ranch and forced Ralph to release all of his wild animals in an attempt to save them. Zamba led all of the animals to safety, proving himself to be the world’s greatest lion.Read the rest of my review on my blog, Waking Brain Cells.

  • Melissa
    2019-01-31 03:35

    I was drawn in to this book by Ted Lewin's as-always awesome watercolors, but also by the unique story. The writing is a little workmanlike but it is clear and straightforward. I knew as adult reader that the lion's back story had to have been constructed (rather than absolutely factual reporting) and from general knowledge about the entertainment industry that the story takes place sometime in the past, but a child will not. There is a note that the book is based on the author's adult book Zamba: The True Story of the Greatest Lion that Ever Lived, but there isn't an author's note or back matter to provide more context or a timeline. (It's also unclear that the lion's new home is in the United States, it's unclear that the way the lion was raised, with humans, however unlikely, is the truth.) Still, the rescue story is powerful.

  • Shirley
    2019-02-19 23:34

    I was drawn to this book because it was a story about the life of the MGM lion. The illustrations in this book are beautiful and capture every moment in the story so wonderfully.It was really interesting to read about the adventures of Zamba the lion: how he started life as an orphan, when a lion killed both his parents, and how he ended up growing up with a village full of children. Then, he traveled across the world to the USA, where a trainer named Ralph took care of exotic animals at his sanctuary called Africa USA. During a bad rainstorm, which swept many of the animals away from their shelter, Zamba managed to emerge from the waters and guide the other animals to safety under a 300 year old tree. Animals that would have preyed on each other in the wild, were finding safety with each other under the guidance of a big was amazing to read!

  • Barbara
    2019-02-21 00:40

    This true story of Zamba the lion who appeared in many TV shows and commercials is inspiring and makes me want to know more. Left without parents as a cub, he was rescued and raised in a sanctuary and then later taken to the United States where an animal behaviorist trained him to get along with the other animals and humans. A flood threatens the animals, and it is Zamba that leads them from the flood waters and wreckage to safety under an old oak tree. The watercolor illustrations and heart-tugging story make me want to know more about this lion and about Ralph, his caretaker. Anyone interested in this title will probably want to read the book for adults on which this picture book is based. As a couple of other reviewers have mentioned, I longed for back matter to provide the rest of the story as well.

  • Peacegal
    2019-02-04 02:25

    3.5 stars -- This is a beautifully illustrated book, with a touching, if a bit overwrought, storyline. Zamba the African lion is an orphaned cub who finds his way to the exotic animal ranch owned by a famed animal trainer. Unlike most other lions, Zamba seemingly lacks the fierce nature of the King of Beasts and instead interacts pleasantly with Helfer's children and other animals. The climax of the story comes when Zamba rescues his trainer during a terrifying flash flood that destroyed the ranch. I was previously somewhat familiar with the Helfer animal training family after reading an earlier book about them, in which I learned info both positive and troubling.

  • Leigh
    2019-02-02 01:19

    Although I firmly believe wild animals belong in the wild, not in zoos and such, this story tells of a wonderful bond between a compassionate trainer and an unusually intelligent and gentle lion. This would be a good choice for school visits, the illustrations are gorgeous and they will be fascinated by the story.

  • Marcie
    2019-02-15 23:45

    Loved this even though it is based upon the adult novel which I haven't read. A few years ago I started my class by reading the World's Greatest Elephant which I also loved. Although this story did not have the same emotional punch (ie it didn't make me cry), I loved the illustrations enough to want to share it.

  • Betsy
    2019-02-14 07:40

    The MGM lion is an iconic image to be sure--this is a bit of the story behind the real lion behind the image. Paintings/illustrations are wonderful! They help this story rise higher than the text. Text tells a complete-sounding story for kids, but readers are left wanting/needing a bit more info...with no resources listed for further research. That would help raise this book up a notch.

  • Alyson (Kid Lit Frenzy)
    2019-01-24 23:24

    Fictionalized biography - wish there with author endnotes that shared more of the facts. The first few pages which shared about Zamba's life with his family seemed extremely fictionalized based on what I have read about lions. However, the story picks up and works better as a fictionalized biography.

  • Yoo Kyung Sung
    2019-02-18 23:27

    Romanticism on animals from Africa and an old movie "Tarzen" like illustration create certain familarity from this brandnew book. With the same reason, I do not get much attracted to the book. Animal lovers will enjoy reading this book.

  • Karen
    2019-01-26 00:15

    I wanted more back story to this. When did it take place? What were the movies Zamba appeared in? How long did he live, etc. the story itself was engaging. Lewin's pictures amazing. So why did the publisher fall short and not provide the curious reader more?

  • Cindy
    2019-02-03 07:44

    Like others who've read this, was hoping for an author's note to explain. But, the story is intriguing enough and I see many students wanting to know more and possibly encouraging them to do some exploring and research.

  • Ashley
    2019-02-01 05:38

    This is a great true story!

  • Hope Jimenez
    2019-01-27 02:32

    Beautiful images by Ted Lewin. Cool story about lion who survived storm and ended up being a lion who is in movies. Turns out to be MGM studios lion.

  • Pamela
    2019-02-10 01:26

    Very interesting story. Pictures are beautiful. However, didn't love the writing. I would give it 3.5 stars.

  • Beverly
    2019-02-01 04:40

    An amazing and heart-warming story.

  • Kristy
    2019-02-08 04:17

    This book is adorable, and it reminds me why I love animals better than people. Best lion ever.

  • Jamie
    2019-02-18 02:37

    Very long for a picture book, my students had a hard time sitting for it and I split it into two lessons, but they loved it.

  • Margie
    2019-01-28 00:37

    I wanted to give this a higher rating but the initial pages seemed more like fiction than nonfiction. But the story will have appeal to young readers.

  • Edward Sullivan
    2019-02-23 01:15

    A beautifully illustrated, dramatic and engaging story.

  • Paula
    2019-02-08 01:26

    Follows the famous lion's life from Africa to the United States and recounts the events of the 1969 flood in which Zamba led the other animals to safety.

  • Nativida
    2019-01-26 03:21

    Fictionalized "biography"