Nicola Morgan's second picture book, Pride of Lions, received the Sheila Egoff B.C. Book Prize in 1988; preceded by The Great Alphabet Book and followed by Temper, Temper. Her work is characterized by whimsical humour. A soothing bed-time fantasy, Louis and the Night Sky teaches astronomy while following a pre-schooler who magically tours the universe. It was followed by Once In A Blue Moon, about figures of speech. Morgan was born in 1959 in Victoria and lives in West Vancouver.
The Great B.C. Alphabet Book (F&W $12.95)
Alexis from Abbotsford bakes in the sun. Basil from Burns Lake eats wood for fun. Ernest from Enderby waves with his nose. Francine from Fairmont loves dipping her toes,” rhymes Nicola Morgan in The Great B.C. Alphabet Book (F&W $12.95). Each letter of the alphabet features a poem saluting a different B.C. community.
Pride of Lions (Fitzhenry & Whiteside)
Written and illustrated by Nicola Morgan, Pride of Lions (Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 1987) was named this year's winner of the Egoff Prize. It's a striking work that marries a droll, minimal text to arresting, dynamic illustrations of bright shapes and warm tones.
Morgan's idea of illustrating a compendium of animal group nouns (eg. a murder of crows) has been used by other illustrators but seldom with such dry, Aesopian wit. Here alliterative word play on each noun is given concrete form in visual puns and sight gags. Nonsensical animal characters engaged in absurd, anthropomorphized activities are dressed as wealthy executive parrots or black-leather-jacketed delinquent elks. --by Judith Saltman
[BCBW Summer 1988]