Looking for a Mountains-based children’s book to read to her two young daughters, Bullaburra’s Jodie McLeod was astonished she could only find The Legend of the Three Sisters, a Golden Book published in the 1970s.
Her elder girl enjoyed it so much, Ms McLeod took her the next day to see the Echo Point landmark for herself. To be able to touch what had been read to her the previous night gave her an absolute thrill, Ms McLeod said.
She decided there and then to create something else that helped connect her children to their beautiful Mountains environment.
“I knew that I wanted to write something that would give her that experience,” she said.
For inspiration, she turned to the superb lyrebird which had lived in her backyard when she first moved to the Mountains. She could imagine endless stories around the bird which can famously mimic the calls of more than 20 other bird species as well as car alarms, the sound of chainsaws and the click of a camera shutter.
Leonard the Lyrebird was born in words, but it needed pictures. Ms McLeod found the Mtns Made website, which helps people find creative types in the area, and ended up working with Katoomba illustrator, Eloise Short, herself the mother of two.
“I had been wanting to do a kids book for years but always had other projects that pushed it back,” Ms Short said. “When I got the story [from Ms McLeod], I loved it and knew that it was something I could do.”
The result will be a beautiful picture book telling of the adventures of Leonard and hie search for a special friend among the creatures of the Australian bush.
The pair have launched a Pozible campaign to help raise funds for the design and printing and are close to their target. All pledges will receive a copy of the book. There are also options to buy some of the original artwork, receive an invite to the launch or even get the authors to visit a child’s school.