A story about a koala that hates change has been named the winner of Oscar’s Book Prize 2017.
The Koala Who Could by Rachel Bright and Jim Field won the prize for the best under-fives book at a ceremony in London on Monday night.
Bright was presented with a £5,000 cheque by Princess Beatrice, patron of Oscar’s Book Prize.
The award is named after Oscar Ashton who died from an undetected heart condition in 2012 at the age of three and a half. It is supported by Amazon and the National Literacy Trust and aims to promote books that parents will love reading with young children.
The Koala Who Could was chosen from a shortlist of five titles that were published in the past year. Its central character, Kevin the Koala, learns eventually that change can bring new and wonderful things. Bright and Field were also shortlisted for the award in 2016.
This year’s judging panel comprised presenter Claudia Winkleman, Cathy Rentzenbrink, author of the 2015 memoir The Last Act of Love, Dan Mucha, Director of Books at Amazon and Oscar’s parents Viveka Alvestrand and James Ashton. The award ceremony took place at The Ned in London.
Praise for the winning book:
Dan Mucha - “The pictures are so endearing and I love the story’s idea that you can’t control everything around you – and that it’s not so bad.”
James Ashton - “I loved the lush outback, all the lead characters and how you can sympathise with Kevin.”
Cathy Rentzenbrink - “A pleasure to read aloud. A really good message that enables children to think that to be frightened is OK which is why it’s so lovely. The idea that you can’t eradicate fear but can learn to manage it is a complex message made wonderfully accessible.”
Commenting on the award, panel judge Claudia Winkleman said, “I was really impressed with the quality and quantity of entries this year. They were all full of warmth and wit and we had an incredibly tough time choosing the winning title as they all set our imaginations alight."