Follow the Leader
Follow The Leader.png
Attribution information

Page McBrier


   Laureen Burger Brooks
   David Pacheco
   Denise Shimabukuro
   Raymond Zibach

Publication information

Grolier Books


The Lion King: Six New Adventures










A Snake in the Grass


How True, Zazu?

You know what they say. A king's work is never finished.

Follow the Leader is a book inspired by The Lion King. It was published by Grolier Books in 1994 as the fifth book in The Lion King: Six New Adventures.


Simba, the king of Pride Rock, is attempting to take a break from his royal duties when his majordomo, Zazu, informs him of a skirmish at the water hole. After Simba sends Zazu off with a warning to deliver, he is approached by his son Kopa, who wants to wrestle with him. The two start up a game, but are interrupted by the arrival of Zazu and Simba's royal adviser, Rafiki.

Zazu informs Simba that the elephants are stripping the acacia trees of their bark. However, before Simba can deal with the problem, Timon and Pumbaa appear and complain that Simba has been too busy to spend time with them. Though Rafiki and Zazu try to explain the importance of Simba's duties, the two insist that Simba should come take a nap with them. Simba is tempted to accept their offer, but Rafiki and Zazu decline for him.

As Rafiki and Zazu continue to press Simba, he complains that he deserves a rest. The two sympathize with him, but insist that he deal with the kingdom's problems. At last, Simba relents and leaves the shelter of Pride Rock. No sooner has he gone when Haraka the ostrich approaches with urgent news. He informs Rafiki and Zazu that the baboons in Grass Walls are in great trouble, then speeds off.

Rafiki immediately sets off to help, while Zazu flies off to tell Simba the news. Along the way, he encounters Nala and warns her of Rafiki's rescue mission. She agrees to bring the message to Simba herself and then implores Zazu to watch Kopa while she is gone. Though reluctant, Zazu agrees to the chore.

Nala hastens to the acacia grove, where Simba is settling a dispute between Nassor the giraffe and a herd of elephants. Nala informs Simba of Rafiki's departure and questions whether he should follow after him for help, but Simba insists that he needs a break from his duties. Nala argues that Grass Walls is quite far from the Pride Lands and that Rafiki may run into trouble, which wins Simba over. He leaves Zazu in charge of monitoring the kingdom, while he sets off after Rafiki.

Simba travels to the edge of the Pride Lands, where he is just in time to save Rafiki from a charging rhinoceros. After the danger is abated, Rafiki explains that Grass Walls is his homeland and that he wants to help the baboons there. Together, the two travel to Grass Walls, only to find that it has deteriorated into a wasteland.

As Rafiki makes his way through the kingdom with Simba, he is greeted by old friends. They direct him to their leader, Jelani, who is sitting lazily beneath a dead tree. Rafiki confronts Jelani and demands that he take care of his subjects. When Jelani continually refuses, Rafiki takes charge of the troop, using Simba as his brute force, and announces that they will be leaving Grass Walls in search of better territory.

The next morning, Rafiki leads his troop away from Grass Walls. In the middle of the journey, a leopard attacks the baboon Dalila and steals her son, Mosi. Simba, thinking of his own son, chases the leopard down and saves Mosi. Though the baboons are delighted by Mosi's rescue, they complain of hunger and thirst, and Simba worries that they will not be able to continue for much longer.

Not long after this, Rafiki's cousin Karibu collapses from exhaustion and insists that the troop must go on without her. To the troop's surprise, Jelani pushes forward and lifts Karibu onto his back. The troop carries on until they reach a lush jungle, where they can at last drink and rest.

The next morning, Jelani announces to Rafiki that he has found a clearing where the troop can settle down. Rafiki comments that Jelani has changed, and Jelani explains that he had realized how dangerous his selfish leadership had been.

With the troop in safe hands, Rafiki and Simba depart. On the way home, Simba comments that a leader must always put his people first, as was the case with Jelani, and that Simba must never again prioritize his own needs. He is interrupted by the arrival of Timon and Pumbaa, who ask Simba to help them settle a petty dispute. Simba gently explains that he is only needed for true crises and that Timon and Pumbaa must settle their argument themselves. Together, the four journey back to Pride Rock, with Simba galloping ahead.



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