When the flock returns, bird has recovered and rejoins his family, leaving Lion with a loneliness that was not previously part of his solitary existence. The use of large white spaces, and on occasion completely blank pages, throughout the illustrations work well in adding further emotional depth to the story, portraying Lion’s loneliness in a way that seeps right into your heart and settles in to stay.
Lion however is a very pragmatic character, and as time moves on he once again appears to be content with his solitary existence, fishing, gardening and reading through the spring and summer. However, when autumn returns, he anxiously awaits to see if bird will visit again, or travel on with his flock as they migrate once more.
The Lion and the Bird clearly demonstrates the strength of friendship and how it can endure through solitary moments, over time and distance, while also recognising bird’s need for his family (or flock) as well as his friendship with Lion. I think any child who has had to say goodbye to a dear friend or relative for an extended period of time will relate both to Lion’s distress, as well as Lion and Bird’s joy when Bird returns again for the next winter.
Title: The Lion and the Bird
Author/Illustrator: Marianne Dubuc
Publisher: Book Island, $24.99 NZ RRP
Publication Date: 2015
For ages: 4+
Type: Picture Book