Swan Lake

With all the talk of drought, dying cattle and lack of feed, it is good to be able to talk about river landscapes and not dried out wetlands or barren creek beds.

I recently bought a large format Picture Book, ‘Swan Lake’, by Anne Spudvilas, a multi award winning illustrator of children’s books. Her first Picture book, ‘The Race’ was a CBCA Honour book; she has also published ‘The Peasant Prince’ by Li Cunxin and her book ‘Jenny Angel’ with Margaret Wild, was a CBCA Book of the Year in 2000.

‘Swan Lake’ is a re-imagining of the classic tale of passion, betrayal and heartbreak set in the riverscape of the Murray Darling, (an important and controversial river system in Australia). Anne lives at Wentworth where the two rivers meet and she is surrounded by birds and mighty river red gums.

The large scale illustrations are predominately in a black/grey scale with just touches of red and they flow across the double spread in a very dramatic manner.

As a writer who lives in the New England area, I was interested to see that the project was completed with the assistance of the University of New England in Armidale through a funded Illustrator in Residence program. I am attending a CBCA meeting in Armidale soon as a visitor,  so  perhaps this may be part of my discussion.