This story is about a boy named Willoughby who has moved to a new house that is smaller than his previous house and was far away from friends. The yard is boring, barren, and has an enormous rock in the middle of the yard that sits like an abandoned podium.
One morning, something magical happens and Willoughby looks out so see a golden lion sitting atop the great big stone. The golden lion pops out because Foley uses only the color gold against his black and white drawings. While I have heard a few people call Foley’s drawings “blah” in reviews online, my kids love his books and anyone that I have ever loaned this book to has absolutely loved it!
Willoughby goes outside to meet the lion who instantly offers his ten wishes but gently tells the boy that he will be stuck on this rock forever unless Willoughby wishes “for the most wonderful thing of all”.
The boy begins wishing and the fun begins! He gets a palace, a hot-air balloon submarine with an escape helicopter, the fastest shoes in the world, his own roller coaster; all depicted in the book all with a limited palette of black and gold.
As the boy continues wishing, he approaches his tenth wish and he notices the lion lying in the shadow of his roller coaster. The lion tells the boy that he too misses his friends and his old home. Willoughby spends the night with him singing songs, exchanging stories and telling him the “best jokes” that he knows.
As the night passes, the boy looks around at all the amazing items he has amassed and realizes what is important. He whispers his last wish, the most wonderful wish, into his golden friend’s ear as the both drift off to sleep.
What was the most wonderful thing of all? Read this book and find out! Bonus: If you don’t get the most wonderful thing of all right away, the book comes with a cardboard cutout of a small gold coin with two words printed on it to tell you the answer. My kids loved the added prize!