Margaret Wild features in the CBCA Award lists each and every year it seems. She is rather prolific, having written over 70 books, and is one of Australia's best writers for young people. I've read quite a few of her books and shared some of them here. The Dream of the Thylacine. The Treasure Box. Tanglewood. This years nominated book is The Stone Lion, illustrated by Ritva Voutila who is a new name to me, although she is an accomplished illustrator and artist who has been illustrating children's books for over 20 years. Ritva has two books included in the Picture Book of the Year Award this year- The Stone Lion which was shortlisted, and Outside by Libby Hathorn which is an Honour Book.
The Stone Lion is a beautiful picture book. A story of sadness and joy, despair and hope. The stone lion sits atop a pedestal outside a library. He longs to be alive so he can stroll through the city streets and run through the park opposite his library.
One snowy night, a small homeless girl Sara brings her baby brother to the lion. Sara is freezing and giving up hope.
Sara and the baby will become cold and hard, he thought, unable to walk or jump or feel, Just like me.
The lion wants to protect Sara and the baby, to take them into the warm library.
Ritva Voutila has created beautiful warm pastel illustrations that have a European feel with stone lions, snowy nights and robins. I expected to see an Eiffel Tower on each page. The illustrations have a Depression-era feel to them.
The winners of the 2015 Children's Book Council of Australia Awards will be announced tomorrow.