The Lion and the Bird by Marianne Dubuc, translated by Claudia Z. Bedrick
Fall is upon us once again, and Lion is out in his garden, raking leaves, turning soil, getting ready for the winter ahead. “Oh! Poor little thing!” he notices: Bird has fallen from the sky, his wing broken. Bandaged and revived, Bird watches as his flock flies away, but Lion nestles him into his soft, cozy mane, and promises, “‘Don’t worry! You won’t be cold here.'”
In spite of the deep snow, “… winter doesn’t feel all that cold with a friend.” Sledding and ice fishing, reading by the hearth, Lion tends and Bird mends. Spring springs, and Bird is ready to join his returning flock: “And so it goes,” as Lion watches while Bird flies away.
Spring becomes summer which “passes slowly, softly.” Lion patiently tends his fertile garden, until once again the leaves turn and autumn arrives … “And how about you?” Lion wonders and waits.
Canadian author/artist Marianne Dubuc’s latest from consummate indie Enchanted Lion Books, (translated by multi-talented publisher Claudia Z. Bedrick herself) is an ideal reminder about the saving power of unlikely friendship. Dubuc’s illustrations are effervescently inviting, especially noteworthy for the guileless expressions she imbues on her duo’s faces: from Lion’s welcome of Bird into his home, to the peaceful slumber of trusting buddies, to the playfully curious peeks through the window at the chilly snow, to the smiles shared at spring’s new warmth, Dubuc knows how to capture intimate emotions with just the slightest tilt of a single line.
To read Lion and Bird seems especially fitting today, this 13th anniversary of 9/11. Regardless of preconceived notions of who we are, who we think the ‘others’ might be, we’re each capable of reaching across expectations and accepting differences to forge new relationships. Call me Pollyanna, but timeless lessons are exactly timeless for a reason: they’re eternal and so very worthy of telling the stories again and again and again.
Published: 2013, 2014 (United States)