Age Range: 3 to 7
It’s the time of year when we are woken up by birds singing at dawn, living next to woods means that the concert can be particularly loud! The Dawn Chorus by Suzanne Barton is a gorgeous book that is really relevant to read right now and has stimulated discussion about which kinds of birds we can hear singing in the mornings.
The Story: Early one morning a little bird, Peep, hears a beautiful song and goes to find out who is singing it. After asking various birds and animals if they have been singing, he discovers a group of birds who call themselves the dawn chorus. Peep practises singing so that he can join them but on the first day he is late for his audition and on the second day he is too tired to sing. Disappointed he goes home but then discovers why he can’t sing so well in the morning…
The Dawn Chorus is the story of a little bird who does his best to make his dream come true before discovering his own identity. We don’t want to spoil the story but it does have a happy ending, Peep finds a new friend and discovers that his particular bird species sings better later in the day. Peep is an easy character for children to identify with and we admire his determination to become part of the chorus, feel his disappointments when things don’t go his way and share in his joy as his story ends.
The text is easy to read and Suzanne Barton uses earthy colours for the illustrations which are perfect for the bird and animal life that they portray. My daughter loves Owl and my favourite page shows Peep watching the stars under a full moon, it has a deep blue background with gorgeous collage stars.
Peep’s story would be great to include in a classroom topic on birds and could be used to initiate discussion about different kinds of birds and their birdsongs. Listening to a CD of different birds can help younger readers identify how particular birds sing as well as the different sounds that other birds, e.g. owls, roosters or ducks, make.
The Dawn Chorus is a beautifully illustrated book which is enjoyable to read but also stimulates learning and gives opportunities for children to think and talk about different kinds of birds.
Author / Illustrator: Suzanne Barton