I love origin tales like how the robin got its red breast, and why the moon travels. In The Song of the Nightingale, author Tanya Landman weaves a beautiful tale of a young earth full of life and colour, but the animals within it are dull and drab. So the painter decides something must be done and takes out her brush to add colour and pattern to all the animals. Starting simply, she begins adding dots to ladybirds and spots to butterflies, before moving to stripes on zebras and suits on penguins. However, just as the painter’s colours run dry the nightingale comes out of hiding for her turn. What can the painter do?
The story feels like it has always been around, a classic tale told from generation to generation. And most likely will be told in generations to come. The art is a beautiful mix of media, with big and small dollops and strokes of colour all blending and running into each other as a riot of colour is introduced to the animal kingdom. The illustration is less interested in character and representation of the world and animals – colour is the important part here and it adds to the timeless and universality of the tale. A recommended book for ages 5-7.