Chirri & Chirra

tr. from Japanese by Yuki Kaneko. illus. by Kaya Doi. 40p. Enchanted Lion. Sept. 2016. Tr $15.95. ISBN 9781592701995.
RedReviewStarPreS-Gr 1—This Japanese import is the first in a series featuring two nearly identical rosy-cheeked girls. Dressed in black leggings and button-down cardigans, they spend a day cycling through the forest, straight black hair billowing behind them. The sound of the bicycles—"dring-dring, dring-dring!"—signals each leg of their journey. Every establishment they visit accommodates creatures of varying sizes, so at the tidy woodland café, "they sit at a table that's just right for them." Children who love to imagine inhabiting a parallel animal realm will be enchanted by the mouthwatering concoctions and friendly interactions—drinking acorn coffee from the hollowed nut while conversing with the bee sipping violet tea, or later watching a rabbit select carrot buns with lemon jam at the roadside bakery. After an afternoon swim, the duo pedal to a cozy hotel where a deer welcomes them. The climax portrays a warmly lit view of clusters of animals on their individual balconies singing along with the orchestra in the courtyard below. Curving compositions and sweeping greenery rendered in colored pencil, combined with the white (negative) space swirling around each image on the page, recall the harmonious designs in Virginia Lee Burton's The Little House. While there's nary an adult in sight, this charming picture book is completely in touch with childhood desires and logic.
VERDICT A sweet and safe selection to nourish children's spirits and fuel fantasies, best shared one-on-one so they can pore over the artwork.

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