Leonard the Lyrebird is a children’s book set in Blue Mountains, Australia, written by Jodie McLeod (me!) – a Blue Mountains local and longtime creative writer, journalist and editor (also editor of this website) – and illustrated by the very talented Katoomba artist Eloise Short.
After a successful crowdfunding campaign Leonard was published in September 2018 and is now available in numerous bookstores, art galleries, museums and boutiques in the Blue Mountains, NSW and Australia. You can also buy it online here.
This is the story of how Leonard the Lyrebird turned from a little idea into a real-life book…
As a mother of two living in the Blue Mountains, I have long seen a need for a children’s book set in this beautiful place, focusing on the animals and landscape. After searching for such a book online and discovering nothing like it existed (but for 1970s out-of-print Golden Book on the legend of the Three Sisters) – I decided to write one.
I wanted to work with a local illustrator and I knew if I went through a traditional publisher I probably wouldn’t be able to do that (they like to use their own illustrators). I’m also not a previously published author or a celebrity, which you almost have to be to get a children’s book publishing deal these days. Hence I decided to self-publish, and to get it off the ground I ran a successful crowdfunding campaign through Pozible.
Leonard the Lyrebird is illustrated by the amazing Eloise Short – a Blue Mountains textile designer, illustrator and artist. Her painted illustrations for the book are so intricate and textured they make you want to run your fingertips over all the details, which in my experience is something children can’t resist in picture books.
Leonard has been designed by the lovely Melissa Mylchreest, a former Blue Mountains resident, from King St Press.
The story itself is a mix of prose and verse, with a little bit of tension towards the end in the form of a bunyip.
Here’s a synopsis….
Leonard the lyrebird is friends with everyone, and boy can he sing! But will Leonard’s singing talents impress the one friend he really wants?
Set in the beautiful bush of the Blue Mountains, Australia, this story is about friendship, bravery and being yourself.
I’m so excited about this book and I just know that children and families with any kind of connection to the Blue Mountains – and simply just to the Australian bush and its animals – are going to love it. And they do!
Read what people are saying about Leonard the Lyrebird here and leave your own review too!
Did you know Leonard the Lyrebird has been adapted into a classical music composition by award-winning Australian composer Ian Munro? Read more about it here and follow the links below for tickets. Don’t miss the world premiere of Leonard the Lyrebird: A Musical Story on Feb 23-24, 2019 at Scenic World Blue Mountains!