10 June, 2016
This year’s Oscar’s Book Prize was awarded to author and illustrator Gemma Merino for her book ‘The Cow Who Climbed a Tree’.
The children’s book prize, an annual hunt for the best pre-school book, is now in its third year. It was set up to commemorate the life of Oscar Ashton, a book-lover with a big imagination who died of a heart condition when he was three and a half. With the support of the London Evening Standard and the sponsorship of Waitrose, the prize aims to celebrate the joy and creativity of early-years literature and encourage parents to read with their children.
Merino’s winning entry, ‘The Cow Who Climbed a Tree’, tells the story of Tina the cow, whose curiosity and desire to explore lead her on imaginative adventures. Her sisters think she is spouting nonsense, but she soon shows them that there is much more to life than chewing grass. The book, with its quirky, colour-splashed illustrations and uplifting story-line, was a worthy winner, and the judging panel felt it would have been a firm favourite with Oscar himself.
Also short-listed were ‘The Lion Inside’ by Rachel Bright and Jim Field, ‘Sir Lilypad’ by Anna Kemp and Sara Ogilvie, ‘Hector and Hummingbird’ by Nicholas John Frith and ‘The Fox and the Star’ by Coralie Bickford-Smith. Competition was fierce, and the levels of creativity and imagination were very high.
The £5,000 prize was presented to Ms Merino by HRH Princess Beatrice, one the competition’s six judges on 23rd May 2016. Also on the panel were the publisher and co-founder of Short Books, Rebecca Nicolson; Rupert Thomas, marketing director of Waitrose; Oscar’s parents, Viveka Alvestrand and Evening Standard columnist James Ashton; and Heywood Hill’s own Nicky Dunne. Nicky was thrilled to be involved with such an inspiring literary prize.
Heywood Hill congratulates Gemma Merino and the long-listed and short-listed authors, and looks forward to what Oscar’s Book Prize has to offer in future years.
For more information about Oscar’s Book Prize, you can visit the website here
You can buy a gift box of the shortlisted titles here
(Photo: Shortlisted authors. Credit to the London Evening Standard)