Did you know that on Sunday it is International Dawn Chorus Day? It’s a day where all around the globe people will be rising early to greet the dawn and simply listen to bird song. If you can’t find a local event to join in with, you could instead simply curl up with The Dawn Chorus by Suzanne Barton (@suzannebarton0).
Peep the bird wakes to the sound of wonderful song. He’s determined to find out who’s singing so beautifully; could it be the owl, the mouse or the frog? Eventually he stumbles on a flock of birds, and he has his answer: It’s the Dawn Chorus!
And oh, how beautifully they sing. Peep is determined to join their ranks, but despite practising hard, he keeps missing his early morning auditions. Is there a reason why he’s not cut out to sing at first light? Will Peep every be able to fill the sky with gorgeous song?
A charming addition to the ranks of picture books which explore how creatures (or indeed we, the readers) react when we find out we don’t quite belong (I’m thinking, for example of Stellaluna, and Croc and Bird), The Dawn Chorus is a delightful, soothing tale about perseverance, and discovering who we truly are.
The eyecatching illustrations make great use of visual texture, with collage, decoration and especially effective looping swoops of paintbrush and patterns, capturing playful flight and joyful flurries of song. The restricted earthy orange/red/yellow palette makes this book gently glow – just like a warm sunrise held in your hands as you read.
Taking our lead from the cute birds in Barton’s book we decided to make our own flock to sing to us. I cut out several bird bodies, and cut slits in the middle of them.
The girls used doilies like stencils to decorate the birds’ chests, and then decorated those doilies (coloured them in) before folding them accordion style and then slipping them into the slits. Gently we slightly opened out the doilies to create wings, which we held in place with paperclips. We finished off the birds with small hand-drawn eyes, and tails created by taking half a doily and folding that like a fan before taping in place.
M and J then took the flock out to the garden, where they settled in our cherry tree.
Whilst making our birds we listened to:
Other activities which would go well alongside reading The Dawn Chorus include:
Do let me know if any of you make it on early on Sunday 4th of May!
Disclosure: I received a free review copy of The Dawn Chorus from the publisher.