Picture Book Review: The Song of the Nightingale

The Song of the Nightingale by Tanya Landman

The Song of the Nightingale
by Tanya Landman, Laura Carlin (Illustrator)

3 out of 5 stars

At the beginning of the world, the animals had no colors. So the painter lines them all up and gives each animal its stripes, spots, and colors. The ladybugs, lions, elephants, flamingos, and crocodiles all get their distinctive colors. The zebras and tigers get their stripes. Even the whales get their deep blue color. With the last pot of paint, the painter gives a special coat of gold paint to the golden scarab beetle. But when the day is done and all the animals have gone, a shy nightingale approaches the painter. There is only one drop of golden paint left on the painter’s brush, and the painter drips it down the nightingale’s throat. Golden notes of music echo through the cool night air!

I really loved the premise of this story! It’s so creative and fun to see each animal getting their colors. And it’s a lovely way to imagine the nightingale being singled out from other animals to have a beautiful voice.

I really enjoyed the writing style, which has a kind of solemn whimsy in its tone that you see in old-fashioned fairy tales and legends. It’s really beautiful and a delight to read!

However, I did not like the illustrations at all. They look sloppy and chaotic. The watercolors run and are mixed up on the page, and of course that is on purpose, but I didn’t like the unpolished look of the artwork. I would love to see this story redone with new illustrations that better capture the beauty and whimsy of the story.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a free and honest review. All the opinions stated here are my own true thoughts, and are not influenced by anyone.

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