Chirp! / Five Little Chicks

Chirp!
Mary Murphy
Walker Books

As a new day begins, each bird adds its voice to the dawn chorus. The Thrush warbles, Blackbird whistles ‘Tooraloo’ and then in turn we hear a sequence of onomatopoeic contributions from the Wren, the Lark, the Finch,

the Robin, the Swallow, followed by Wagtails, a Starling, Magpies, the farmyard Goose, Duck and Hen, the Pigeon and the Cockerel.

Suddenly into the crescendo of early morning sound, from a tiny blue unnamed bird that’s been watching and waiting patiently, comes a “Hush! It’s my turn to sing.” It then adds a zippy-zippy-zippeeeeee that serves as a reminder that. ‘ … We all have something to say. / We all get to shout / for a brand new / day!’

As it is with our feathered friends, so it should be for humans: everyone deserves a chance to get his or her voice heard.
With its wealth of sounds that cry out to be echoed by little humans, this is a fun story with an important message at its heart. And what an abundance of sound/symbol associations to be enjoyed.

Five Little Chicks
Lily Murray and Holly Surplice
Templar Publishing

In Lily Murray’s version of the nursery song Five Little Ducks, she’s replaced the ducks with chicks and a Mama Hen and makes the entire text more interactive by asking after every foray over the hills, ‘Now how many chicks / can you see?’, as well as offering some seemingly irresistible bait to her offspring. It certainly has the desired effect and there’s a lovely final surprise for Mama Chick provided by her little ones.

Holly Surplice has included lots of other baby animals and their parents in her springtime illustrations of the chickens and their adventure that takes them through a flower-filled meadow, a bluebell wood, a field of gambolling lambs, a farmyard and beside the stream.

Every one of the scenes is absolutely bursting with bold images and bright colour; and ramping up the interactive nature of the book are the numerous flaps to explore on every spread.

Little humans will definitely enjoy sharing this with their own mother figures, particularly around Mother’s Day and Easter, though this is a book that youngsters will want to go back to time and again. With it’s predictable text it’s also a good one for those in the early stages of reading to try for themselves.

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