Ed Vere has won this year’s £5,000 Oscar’s Book Prize with his picture book How to be a Lion (Puffin).
The prize, now in its sixth year, was created in honour of Oscar Ashton who passed away at the age of three and a half from an undetected heart condition, and recognises the best literature published for the under-5s.
Vere beat off competition from four other titles, including Baby’s First Bank Heist by Jim Whalley and Stephen Collins (Bloomsbury) and The Way Home for Wolf by Rachel Bright and Jim Field (Orchard Books), and was presented with the award by the prize’s royal patron, Princess Beatrice (pictured with Vere).
Princess Beatrice told Vere: “As a daughter of an author I admire you so much. I feel so inspired by every word on these pages and every drawing in these books. I identified, myself, with each every single character that was in this shortlist. Thank you for the joy that you bring to young people every single day. We live in such a crazy, hectic world and for a young person it can be a minefield. So, to shower them with something so joyful, I am thrilled to be a part of this prize.”
The book is about a lion called Leonard who loves poetry and daydreaming and whose best friend is a duck. He has to however contend with the other lions, who insist Leonard should be fierce.
This year’s judges were children’s laureate Lauren Child, Brigitte Ricou-Bellan (UK Director of Books at Amazon), Sarah Brown (president of global children’s charity Theirworld and executive chair of the Global Business Coalition for Education), and Oscar’s parents James Ashton and Viveka Alvestrand. The prize is supported by Amazon and the National Literacy Trust.