Chirp! by Jamie A. Swenson, illustrated by Scott Magoon (9781534470026)
Chipmunk spends her days chirping on top of her rock. Her songs can be happy, or bittersweet or very sad. Her rock was very good at listening, but didn’t sing along. So Chipmunk set out to find a new friend. She found a pinecone that she scooped up and brought back to where the rock was waiting. But the pinecone was also a listener and not a singer. So Chipmunk set off again. She found a log that she thought would make the perfect addition to her group of friends. The problem was, Chipmunk couldn’t move it. So she sat in the log and sang a sad song. Raccoon heard her singing and offered to help her move the log. But even with both of them trying, it wouldn’t budge. Chipmunk and Raccoon sang a bittersweet song together and Moose heard them. With Moose’s help they managed to pop the log free and it rolled right next to the pinecone and rock. Chipmunk still spends her days singing, now though Raccoon and Moose join in too.
A search for friendship makes for a poignant look at how it can be a struggle to find the right friends. At the same time, Chipmunk never gives up on her rather silent friends, framing it instead that they are good listeners. It’s a charming take on loneliness. The bridge of music to share emotions and find new friends weaves throughout the book and brings Raccoon and Moose into the story where they share their voices too. The ending is lovely and satisfying.
Magoon’s illustrations convey Chipmunk’s emotions with colors and movement. The pastels of happiness, the orange and dark moments of bittersweet feelings, and then the blackness of sadness that still has some light within it. The forest setting of the picture book is shown in lovely small details of ferns, grasses, leaves, rocks, dirt and light.
A book about finding friends who truly hear you. Appropriate for ages 3-5.
Reviewed from copy provided by Simon and Schuster.