Having a rather keen interest in birds I was obviously intrigued by this title when I saw it on the CBCA Shortlist for Eve Pownall Book of the Year 2013. It took me a while to get hold of it. The winners have already been announced, and Lyrebird! was an Honour Book this year.
Lyrebird! tells the extraordinary tale of a surprising friendship between a male lyrebird and a widow named Edith Wilkinson. Edith lived in the Dandenongs, east of Melbourne in the 1930s, and made her living growing flowers. One day a male lyrebird visited her and put on quite a show on her verandah. She called him James, and he was to become a frequent visitor.
Lyrebird! had it's origins when Jackie Kerin's partner borrowed a 1933 book called Lore of the Lyrebird, written by the marvellously titled Ambrose Goddard Hesketh Pratt, solicitor, journalist and President of the Royal Zoological and Acclimatization Society. James became quite famous in his day, and was one of the first lyrebirds ever to be filmed and recorded. Jackie became more and more excited by the story. You can hear Jackie talking about Lyrebird! on Radio National here. The book was published by Museum Victoria. It's beautifully illustrated by Peter Gouldthorpe.