‘Leonard the Lyrebird’ – a Blue Mountains children’s book

Leonard the Lyrebird … written by Jodie McLeod and illustrated by Eloise Short

True Blue Mountains creator Jodie McLeod has written a children’s book set in the Blue Mountains called Leonard the Lyrebird, and she needs your help to bring it to life! 

Enough with the faux third-person intro… have written a children’s book and I’m appealing to all True Blue Mountains readers to help turn it into a REAL THING by making a pledge through my crowdfunding campaign on Pozible.

But before I ask you to reach into your pockets, here’s the story behind the book…

Why did I write it?

The idea to write a children’s book set in the Blue Mountains came about after I searched for picture books about the Blue Mountains and could only find one out-of-print Little Golden Book from the 1970s: The Legend of the Three Sisters. 

I bought a copy from a second hand bookseller online and – even though the text was a little clunky – my 3-year-old daughter absolutely loved it. The next day, when we visited the Three Sisters in Katoomba and my daughter touched the actual rock formation from the story, you could almost see the little sparks firing off in her imagination – a collision of fiction and real life.

I saw an opportunity to create a story set in the Blue Mountains that might give her a similar feeling to when she heard that Little Golden Book. And that’s when I wrote Leonard. 

Illustration by Eloise Short, from Leonard the Lyrebird

What’s it about?

Leonard the Lyrebird is a sweet story about friendship, bravery and being your true self, and it’s set in the beautiful bush of the Blue Mountains.

It’s first and foremost an Australian bush animal story – about Leonard and his quest to find a pal – with a handful of references to landmarks in the Blue Mountains you may know, have visited or even live near.

Including a mix of prose and verse, it’s playful and meaningful with a bunch of fun sounds, and it has a bit of tension towards the end with cameos from a fox and the mysterious Australian Aboriginal mythical creature: the bunyip.

Illustration by Eloise Short, from Leonard the Lyrebird

Who is the illustrator and how did we team up?

We have a website here in the Blue Mountains called MTNS MADE – it’s a listings page for anyone with a creative practice and/or service. I wanted to work with a local artist, so I searched for illustrators on the site and that’s when I came across Eloise Short.

Eloise illustrates children’s puzzles and products through her business Millions of Monkeys, and I immediately fell in love with her work – the gorgeous Australian animals and the detail and style of her illustrations. I contacted Eloise with my project proposal and sent her the story. She loved it and we got started pretty much straight away.

Why make a pledge?

Because you’ll not only be helping create a beautiful book for your favourite tiny humans to enjoy, you’ll also be helping share a little bit of the Blue Mountains with a few thousand other children and their families.

Making a pledge is essentially pre-purchasing a copy of the book (due to be published by September 2018 in time for stocking-fillers and any future kid gifts thereafter) but there are other rewards on offer – from art prints to original artworks and more. Rewards start from just $25.

If you want to see our Blue Mountains children’s book Leonard the Lyrebird come to life, head straight to our Pozible page and make a pledge right now!



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