Chirchir is Singing by Kelly Cunnane, illustrated by Jude Daly (Schartz and Wade, 2011)
Chirchir is one of the charming-est girls to jump off a picture book page in a long while. Kelly Cunnane and Jude Daly work seamlessly to bring Chirchir and her family to life, transporting a young reader far away to the Kenyan highlands.
Warblers and cuckoos swing
in the bottlebrush tree,
and Chirchir is singing.
the bucket in.
Wiggle it… jiggle it… Let it fill…
Then hand over hand,
maji, maji — water!
She helps Mama lower the bucket
into the winking silver circle
of the well.
Even with set-back after set-back Chirchir keeps looking for some way to help out with her family’s daily chores, singing the whole way. I have to say that I was especially charmed by the artwork depicting typical Kalenjin family life, with chickens roaming in and around open houses and monkeys laughing from the rooftops.
Idyllic? Yes. But isn’t that one of the reasons we love children’s picture books in the first place?
(Image source: Goodreads)