The Happy Lion is a Gallic joy: the titular lion has a contented life in the zoo where friends come to see him every day. When his door is left open and he goes for a walk around the town he discovers that the same people behave very differently. Bemused, he tries to find a friend.
In a limited palate (from the time before full colour digital printing), Roger Duvoisin's illustrations are so 'French' in all the right ways - maybe it's the use of line and texture to render all the wrought iron railings on the balconies. Sketchy, loose and full of character. Just lovely.
I have a hardback copy from the 80s but I was heartened to dicover in Waterstones the other day that it's back in print. I should also mention that listening to Mr B's French accent when reading the character names gets it an additional thumbs up. Hilarious.