The Song of the Nightingale

By Tanya Landman

Illustrated by Laura Carlin

A gorgeous and evocative story of how the animals got their colours, from Carnegie Medal-winner Tanya Landman and V&A Illustration Award winner Laura Carlin.

The earth was young and full of colour. But the animals were dull and drab. The painter decided: something must be done! With dabs and sweeps the painter's brush creates the stripes on the zebra, the sharp suit of the penguin and the bright splashes on parrots. But what can he give the nightingale when his paintbox has run dry? A beautiful and gently moving tale from the award-winning Tanya Landman and Laura Carlin.

Categories: Picture Books

For readers aged: 6+

  • Publication details:
  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 9781406394719
  • Published: 04 Aug 2022
  • Price: £8.99
  • Size: 288 x 245 mm
  • Pages: 40

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Customer reviews


'Tanya Landman (Buffalo Soldier) and Laura Carlin (The Promise, King of the Sky) are the dream team.' The Times & The IrishTimes

'Carnegie Medal winner Landman teams up with the exquisitely talented Carlin for a striking and evocative story of how the animals got their colours.' The Bookseller

'A glorious hymn to creativity.' New Statesman

'The Song of the Nightingale snuck in at the tail end of the year but shone immediately with its beautiful account of the Earth’s animals receiving their colours from an artist at the beginning of time. […] Reminiscent of John Burningham ’s textured, painterly early work, Laura Carlin ’s illustrations evolve from scratchy pencil sketches to vibrant, inky pictures of animals strutting and strolling, sent on their way by the painter, looking almost still wet. A celebration not just of the Earth’s creatures but creativity itself, this is an origin story to savour.' The Guardian

'I can’t express my love for this book enough; it is such a treat on so many levels. Good length, large type for emerging readers, the most beautiful artwork and a lovely, heart-warming story. See what happens when the colourless animals meet the painter and the true story of the Nightingale’s song. I love it, I love it, I love it, I love it!' Small Print Books

'Dreamy tales become meaningful in these picture books' The Virginian Pilot

'This is one of the best picture books I’ve reviewed in recent years, and by some margin. The language is precise and energetic, and Carlin’s illustrations contain so much detail and life. A book to read aloud with a barely suppressed lump in the throat' Just Imagine

'A fable of how the animals got their colours, this tale of creation is playful and profound, and it begs to be read aloud.' Just Imagine, Favourite Books of 2022

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