Marianne Dubuc | Enchanted Lion Books | 64 pages
The Lion and the Bird is one of those very special books. In similar fashion as her book The Sea, Marianne Dubuc has told a story that embraces the passage of time through long pauses in dialogue and subtle illustrations. Twice as thick as a typical picture book, The Lion and the Bird is a bounty of visual delight. Marianne’s style shows an illustrator that loves to draw and is a master of texture, color and most of all restraint. Her renditions of the lion, the bird and the seasons (with pencil and paint) are both charming and elegant at the same time. Her sense of scale and space command every single spread. Turning each page greets you with a brand new view of the unfolding journey. It has a very cinematic nature of rhythm and pacing.
The story is about a friendship that begins as the lion takes in a wounded bird. Lion feeds and shelters bird and within a couple of wordless pages they become fast friends, (bird nests in lion’s mane). But eventually bird signals to lion that it’s time to leave. Marianne’s drawings of these moments speak volumes. The following pages will tear anyone up as they watch the sadness overcome lion. Without spoiling the surprise ending—let’s say love wins out.
The Lion and the Bird is the kind of book that will endure time and bring hours of thought and conversation about friendship, diversity and seasons. It is simply a beautiful creation—and my pick for this year’s Caldecott.