Tag Archive: singing


nightsong

Nightsong by Ari Berk, illustrated by Loren Long

Chiro is a very young bat whose mother tells him that it is time for him to head out on a solo flight for the first time.  Chiro is very worried about how he will see in the dark, but his mother encourages him to “Sing, and the world will answer.” So Chiro heads out on his own.  At first, he tries to fly without singing, but it is too dark.  Then when he sings, he suddenly sees in color.  Chiro explores and sees all sorts of things through his song.  When he gets to the pond and all of its insects, their songs sound like breakfast to him.  His mother had warned him not to go too far unless his song was strong.  But Chiro is confident and heads out across the pond to see even more of the world through his song.

Berk’s writing is lyrical and lovely.  He captures subtleties and beauty in his words, offering insight about what Chiro is seeing through his echolocation.  When Chiro uses his song for the first time, Berk writes about it like this: “Tall trees called out to him, chanted the length of their long branches and the girths of their rough trunks.” As you can see, he asks children to reach higher with their language, inviting them to explore like Chiro does.

Long’s illustrations are a study in dark patterns and then bursts of color.  Chiro is an exceedingly cute little bat, flying against haunting branches of shadow.  When he sings, children will see the world come to life too, strengthened even more by Berk’s language.  This is a beautiful book, perfect for a summer pajama story time.

A dark delight of a bat’s life, this book is lush in both language and imagery.  Appropriate for ages 4-6.

Reviewed from copy received from Simon & Schuster.

penny and her song

Penny and Her Song by Kevin Henkes

Joining the beloved Chrysanthemum, Lilly, Owen and Wemberly is a new mouse character from the incredible Kevin Henkes.  This mouse is named Penny and she has a song to sing.  Unfortunately when she gets home, the babies are sleeping and she’s not allowed to share her song with her mother or father.  Later, she tries to share the song during dinner, but her parents ask her to wait until they are done eating to sing.  Finally, after dinner, Penny shares her song.  Her parents sing it too, they dress up in costumes, and the babies have a surprise reaction too!

Done in short chapters, this is more a beginning reader than a picture book.  Penny is a delight of a character, who when told she has to wait does not complain but tries to find new solutions that will let her sing without breaking the rules.  The final scenes with her parents happily joining in singing demonstrates the love that comes with rules and structure without any harshness being needed.  The illustrations are done in Henkes’ signature style, which is sure to delight all. 

A happy welcome to Penny as she joins this beloved mouse family.  Appropriate for ages 4-6.

Reviewed from library copy.

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