10 December 2021

'A family affair': new children's book published by Southern Tablelands mother and daughter

| Clare McCabe
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Woman painting

Illustrator of Waldo Pig, Lyn Cram, with the final paintings for a second children’s book, Sherlock the Sheep. Photo: Clare McCabe.

The first children’s book that Lyn Cram illustrated was a keepsake for her son to celebrate the arrival of his first child. More recently, the great-grandmother and artist from Crookwell in the Southern Tablelands illustrated the children’s book Waldo Pig.

Published six weeks ago, it was written by her daughter Rebecca Soames from Braidwood and produced by her two sons.

Rebecca has written many novels, including a series of 17 mysteries based on the fictional Denise Banks, which are popular among readers from the UK, Canada and US.

This is her first children’s book.

Waldo Pig is about a pig out of mud who is trying to find his place on the farm, and he is about to discover the beauty of being truly himself.

“Waldo is a teenage pig. He has long hair and does not want to get dirty, he wears very elegant clothes and he hates mud. He thinks about whether it would be better to be a horse,” Lyn says.

“He thinks about all the different animals on Mrs Sharpe’s farm and in the end, he decides to jump in the mud and have fun with his brothers.

“The moral is be happy with who you are. It is to teach children not to try and be something that they are not,” she says.

The artist sketched and painted the illustrations by hand before giving the work to her architect son, Michael, who whizzed up high-quality pdf versions of the illustrations and sent the documents to Cambodia where her other son, David, put the finishing touches on the book before it was printed.

“It was a real family affair,” Lyn says.

Children's book

Waldo Pig. Photo: Clare McCabe.

Lyn has five children, 10 grandchildren and a great-granddaughter, Eloise, to whom the book is dedicated from her Nonna and Granny Noodles.

“Years ago, Rebecca’s eldest son Blake called me Granny Noodles, at that stage I had my hair permed,” she says.

“He thought my hair looked like noodles and that name has stuck. He is 23 and he will still send me an email or a text message and at the end always says I love you Granny Noodles.

“I’m Granny Noodles to all of them now.”

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Originally from Sydney, Lyn was a commercial artist and her breadth of work spans illustrating for an advertising agency to catalogues, brochures and advertising and feature writing for Rural Press.

After moving around many regional towns, Lyn settled in Crookwell after moving from Braidwood four months ago.

Her artistic pursuits led her to paint an entire series of Christmas paintings and illustrations for her 10 grandchildren last year.

“We’ve been talking about this for a long time because I have wanted to illustrate children’s books. It was always my dream to do this, for many, many years,” Lyn says.

“I actually illustrated a book for my youngest son when his wife was expecting their baby. It was about the dog he and I used to have called Chopper, and Chopper died a few years ago. They used to have great adventures from the time he was a young man, only a teenager.

“I illustrated that and gave that to him as a gift when his son was born.”

Waldo Pig and more of Lyn’s artwork are being sold at Get Creative art gallery in Crookwell, as well as from online retailers, including Amazon.

Lyn and Rebecca are now working on their second children’s book together about a sheep called Sherlock who is frightened of the shearer.

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