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Reviewed by:
  • Chirchir Is Singing
  • Hope Morrison
Cunnane, Kelly. Chirchir Is Singing; illus. by Jude Daly. Schwartz & Wade, 2011. 36p. Library ed. ISBN 978-0-375-96198-4 $20.99 Trade ed. ISBN 978-0-375-86198-7 $17.99 R 5–8 yrs.

Chirchir, a young girl whose name means “Born Quickly,” sings all day: while she is helping her mother get water, while she is helping her grandmother build a fire, while she is helping her sister spread a new floor, while she is helping her father harvest vegetables. Despite her spirited participation and best efforts, however, [End Page 75] Chirchir messes up each of these tasks and is each time sent on her way. Finally, Chirchir hears a new sound, that of her baby brother crying out; she runs to find him, picks him up, and sings him a song that mixes with “the sounds of water splashing into buckets and fires sizzling, brooms sweeping dirt floors and hoes digging potatoes” until he is calm. This snapshot of life in a rural Kenyan village offers a lyrical depiction of the day-to-day activities of the Kalenjin tribe. Chirchir’s role in the activities offers a perfect vehicle by which to travel through the daily rhythms of local life, and the poetic prose both describes and evokes Chirchir’s songs. Daly’s acrylic compositions offer pastoral images of family and village life, with airy and balanced compositions emphasizing the overall scene rather than individual expression; planes of pale green and beige play backdrop to the villagers’ activities while splashes of color highlight homey details. An author’s note and glossary provide additional cultural information.



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pp. 75-76
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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