The story of The Crown begins on the cover with a stunning charcoal and graphite drawing that wraps around the cover. It shows a child with a halo of rubbish on the back that becomes a crown of glorious branches, berries, butterflies and beetles on the front. The story is inspired by the Native American proverb ‘We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children’, but what really rings in my ears is the poignant line that reads, ‘I am not a princess but I have inherited a crown’.
The crown here is an assemblage of trash and waste. It seems to be all that has been left for this child and her generation. The language is as evocative and emotive as the illustrations. They are gritty and urban, and they are lyrical and poetic. When the child ‘opens’ the reader’s ‘book’, it is illuminated with a spectrum of soft, rich colours. It shows the vibrant world below her feet and above her head. It shows her what is possible and advises the reader that the future of our planet is in our hands. Shakespeare said it first and it remains true, ‘heavy is the head that wears a crown’.