Review Blog

Sep 25 2014

The dawn chorus by Suzanne Barton

cover image

Bloomsbury Publishing, 2014. ISBN 9780140839218.
(Age: Preschool - Year 2) Deep in the forest, just as the sun begins to rise, little Peep is woken from his slumbers by the most beautiful song. Stretching his wings and fluffing his feathers he sets out to find out where it is coming from. But if it's not Owl or Mouse or Frog, who could it be? Aha! There on an enormous tree on the top of a hill are lots and lots of birds, all singing their hearts out. It is the dawn chorus and their job is to sing lustily each morning to let the world know a new day has begun. Because Peep loves to sing, he wants to join and the conductor invites him for an audition the next morning. But Peep doesn't make it in time the next day, and the day after he was so tired all he could do was yawn!
"Perhaps you're not meant to sing", sighed the conductor.
Peep is so disappointed. "Why can I sing in the evening but not in the morning?" he asks. And suddenly, he has the answer - one that lifts his spirits and his voice and brings joy to all!
This is a beautifully illustrated book by new author and illustrator, Suzanne Barton. A combination of collage, drawing and painting, the gentle colours and delicate patterns are enchanting and very appealing.
Anyone who has heard a real dawn chorus wonders at the diversity of sounds as each bird adds its greeting, and this concept is enhanced by each bird in the tree being different. However, even though as individuals each has a song to sing, it is when all are singing together that the true magic happens. But as well as celebrating unity, there is also the ability and need to celebrate difference, as Peep discovers. What a wonderful way to introduce those concepts to young learners. I've put this one aside for when I work with a Year 1 class next week - I can see myself working with it, and that's the greatest compliment of all from a teacher librarian.
Barbara Braxton

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